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by May Mart THUon 

Here is a pioneering biography which has 
gone to the sources to tell the story of one of 
the most remarkable men of our time, whose 
idealism and personal magnetism swept him to 
the threshold of the White House and made 
him an international figure. 

This story of the man and his work is written 
with vigor, gusto and liveliness. It unfolds the 
life of the Indiana boy who became president 
of Commonwealth & Southern when barely 
forty, who led the crusade for free enterprise 
during the first two terms of the New Deal, and 
who took on "The Champ" in the colorful cam- 
paign of 1940. There is a fascinating behind- 
the-scenes account of this "campaign of ama- 
teurs," in which popular enthusiasm vanquished 
practical politics at the Republican Convention 
but was inadequate to win the final battle at 
the polls. 

From defeat, WillHe rose to a position unique 
in American history as leader of the loyal oppo- 
sition, a man who contributed signally to keep- 
ing the war out of politics and preserving a 
united front for the prosecution of the war. 
This account of Willkie's wartime travels for 
Roosevelt to England, Russia and China goes in 
many respects considerably beyond what Willkie 
recorded in One World. 

Wendell Willkie the lawyer, the business 
executive, the political crusader emerges as a 
man of stature and significance, seen through 
eyes at once realistic and sympathetic, whose 
influence is perhaps as active today as it was 
during his own lifetime. 









Library of Congress cataJog card number 52-5091 




















INDEX 371 


IN THE year 1940 a new leader appeared upon the American 
political scene. Within an incredibly short time, he won the 
confidence of millions of American voters, only to disappear 
from the arena of politics as suddenly as he had come. Never- 
theless, in a few years he had changed the course of American 
political thought and had developed a new relationship between 
the political parties which contend for the control of the United 
States Government. 

Wendell Willkie was one of the most spectacular episodes in 
American history. He never held public office. He was almost 
totally inexperienced in the tactics of political parties, and yet 
he was nominated by one of the major parties as its candidate 
for the presidency. The defeat of Wendell Willkie as nominee 
of the Republican Party in 1940 was not accomplished by 
President Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. The presidential 
election was determined on the seashore of Dunkirk in France, 
when the fragments of the Allied armies, defeated by the Nazi 
war machine, made their tragic escape to England. It was the 
grim battle in Europe rather than the political contest in the 
United States which guided the American people to the decision 
that the Commander-in-Chief of the American Army and Navy, 
at this critical period, should not be changed. 

Notwithstanding his defeat at the polls, Wendell Willkie 
clarified American thinking upon the New Deal. Without ques- 
tion, this economic and political revolution brought immense 
good to the American people, both in the way of promoting 
social security and in harmonizing the national and state gov- 
ernments. At the same time, the New Deal carried within itself 
elements of bureaucratic control contrary to the American way 
of life. 

At the critical period, when the New Deal's impact had 
confused and almost annihilated its opponents, Wendell Will- 
kie, by his courage and common sense, brought clearness of 



vision to the American people. By his intelligent leadership, 
he put timely limits to the aggressive inroads of the New Deal 
upon the liberties of the American people. At the same time, 
during a great international crisis, when democratic countries 
were threatened by the Axis Powers, he possessed the courage 
to oppose small-minded isolationists and to rally a large seg- 
ment of the nation behind the foreign policy of his political 
opponent, the New Deal President, in an effort to make the 
United States an effective instrument of world peace. 

After all these accomplishments, as suddenly as he had ap- 
peared in American politics, death removed Willkie from the 
political arena. Almost immediately his career began to take 
the form of a myth compounded of stories, rumors, propa- 
ganda, misconceptions and exaggeration, with the result that 
the picture of Wendell Willkie today is considerably confused 
and often far from the truth. With a desire to obtain, before 
it is too late, an account of Willkie as seen by his contemporaries, 
and particularly by the men and women who stood closest to 
him, the author has sought out and talked with a large num- 
ber of persons who personally knew Willkie or participated in 
the great events among which he moved. Among his immediate 
family, the author has conferred several times with Edith Will- 
kie, the wife of Wendell Willkie, and with other relatives. 

Among Willkie's associates in the public utilities, the author 
has had numerous conversations with Justin Whiting, president 
of the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation; the late 
A. C. Watt, public relations expert and a director of C&S; 
John C. Weadock, general counsel for C&S; A. Chambers 
Oliphant, owner of Oliphant Washington Utility Service; Pur- 
cell L. Smith, president of the National Association of Electric 
Companies, in Washington, D.C.; Rowland George, Wall Street 
broker; and Oswald Ryan, general counsel for the Federal 
Power Commission, later vice-chairman of the Civil Aeronautics 
Board; and Bernard Capen Cobb, organizer of CfeS. 

Among members of the Republican Party, the author has 
talked with John D. M. Hamilton, National Chairman of the 
Republican Party in 1940; Frank Altschul, Wall Street banker 
and chairman of the Finance Committee of the Republican 
Party in 1936; Ernest T. Weir, chairman of the National Steel 


Corporation and chairman of the Finance Committee of the 
Republican Party in 1940; Sinclair Weeks, former Republican 
Senator from Massachusetts and National Committeeman; 
Charles A. Halleck, Congressman from Indiana and Majority 
Floor Leader in 1946; Joseph W. Martin, Jr., Congressman from 
Massachusetts and Speaker of the House of Representatives, 
1946-1948; Homer Capehart, Senator from Indiana; Samuel F. 
Pryor, vice-president of Pan American Airways, Connecticut 
political leader and chairman of Arrangements of the Repub- 
lican National Convention of 1940; Harold E. Talbott, vice- 
president of Chrysler Corporation and chairman of the Finance 
Committee of the Republican Party in 1948; John B. Hollister, 
former Congressman from Ohio, assigned to the Willkie cam- 
paign train by the Republican Executive Committee; Styles 
Bridges, Senator from New Hampshire; and Ralph F. Gates, 
Governor of Indiana, 1944-1948, and an old family friend. 

Other Republican leaders whom the author has consulted 
include: Joseph N. Pew, Jr., political leader of Pennsylvania; 
Raymond E. Baldwin, Governor of Connecticut, later a United 
States Senator and then a Federal Judge; Harold E. Stassen, 
Governor of Minnesota and later president of the University of 
Pennsylvania; Robert A. Taft, Senator from Ohio; John Foster 
Dulles, Wall Street lawyer, adviser to Governor Dewey on for- 
eign affairs, member of the United States delegation to the 
United Nations and consultant to the Secretary of State; Oren 
Root, Jr., organizer of the Willkie Clubs; Mrs. Henry Breckin- 
ridge, philanthropist and organizer of the woman's division of 
the Willkie Clubs in 1940; Milton R. Polland, insurance broker 
at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and influential in local politics; 
John E. Dickinson, vice-president of the Amity Leather Prod- 
ucts Company in West Bend, Wisconsin, and chairman of all 
Republican County Committees in 1944; Ralph H. Cake, Na- 
tional Committeeman from Oregon and manager of the Willkie 
primary campaign in 1944; the late Ralph E. Church, Congress- 
man from Illinois; Elliott V. Bell, former editorial writer of the 
New York Times, appointed Superintendent of Banks in 1943 
by Governor Dewey; Charles A. Wolverton, Congressman from 
New Jersey and member of the Joint Committee on the Investi- 


gation of the Tennessee Valley Authority; Wat Arnold, Con- 
gressman from Missouri; and Robert Rolfs, of West Bend. 

Among members of the Democratic Party, the author has 
consulted James A. Farley, National Chairman of the Demo- 
cratic Party in 1932-1940 and Postmaster-General in 1933-1940, 
as well as Henry A. Wallace, Vice-President of the United States 
in 1940-1944; Raoul Desvernine, New York lawyer and active 
in the Jeffersonian Democrats; Elbert D. Thomas, Senator from 
Utah; Harold J. Gallagher, New York lawyer and active in the 
Jeffersonian Democrats; John W. Hanes, Under-Secretary of 
the Treasury, later organizer of the Democrats-for-Willkie; 
Alan Valentine, formerly president of the University of Roches- 
ter, and active in the Democrats-for-Willkie; Bainbridge Colby, 
Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson; and Harold Young, 
political secretary to Henry A. Wallace. 

Among journalists, the author has conferred with James 
Hagerty of the New York Times; Raymond Moley of Newsweek; 
Arthur Krock of the New York Times; Gardner Cowles, Jr., 
editor and owner of Look; Thomas Stokes, syndicate writer, 
and Roscoe Drummond of the Christian Science Monitor. 

State Department and other officials the author consulted 
included Stanley K. Hornbeck, adviser on political relations in 
the Department of State in 1937-1944; Clarence E. Gauss, Am- 
bassador to China in 1941-1944; General Patrick J. Hurley, 
personal representative of President Roosevelt in Soviet Russia 
in 1942, in the Near and Middle East, India and China in 1948, 
and Ambassador to China in 1944; General Claire Lee Chen- 
nault, commander of the Flying Tigers and in 1943 commander 
of the 14th U. S. Air Force in China; Loy Henderson, Foreign 
Service officer; and Llewellyn E. Thompson, Foreign Service 

Finally, a large number of persons who were friends or associ- 
ates of Willkie have offered valuable information. These in- 
cluded Kenneth Colegrove, professor of political science at 
Northwestern University; Walter F. Dodd, author of Cases and 
Materials on Constitutional Law; and Walter Kahoe, former 
administrative assistant to the Chairman of the Board of TVA, 
Arthur E. Morgan; Gerald F. Winfield, member of the Associ- 
ated Board of Christian Colleges in China; Irita Van Doren, 


literary editor of the New York Herald Tribune Book Review; 
Elisha M. Friedman, consulting economist of New York; Lepha 
McCurda, school friend of Wendell Willkie in El wood, Indiana; 
O. D. Hinshaw, owner of the Hinshaw Drug Store at Elwood, 
Indiana; W. S. Woodfill, president of the Grand Hotel, 
Mackinac Island, Michigan; Harvey Firestone, Jr., president of 
the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company; Arthur E. Morgan, 
first Chairman of the Board of TVA; and Dr. Lillian Gay Berry. 

None of the people listed above is responsible for any opin- 
ions or conclusions of the author. 

The biography of Wendell Willkie is the old American story 
of a boy of average American parents and background, brought 
up on the Indiana prairie, rising to be one of the great men of 
his generation. Attaining a position of power and prestige in 
the metropolis of the nation, he made a contribution in three 
fields; business, politics, and foreign relations. 

Despite his many blunders and great inexperience in public 
service, he did well for his country. His greatest talent was to 
dramatize a situation or a policy in such manner as to win 
public support. In business, although merely a private citizen, 
he defended Free Enterprise, and led the opposition to the New 
Deal program. Politically he revitalized the Republican Party 
and gave it a new type of leadership based on courage, imagi- 
nation and the recognition of the need for new formulas. In so 
doing he stiffened the morale of the other liberal Republicans 
in the party. His vibrant leadership also took the Republican 
Party out of the bog of isolationism and committed it to inter- 
national co-operation. With Willkie's patriotic efforts, Presi- 
dent Roosevelt was able to win the unified support of the 
American people to the policy of making America the arsenal 
of democracy in the contest with Hitlerism. Willkie's invention 
of the Loyal Opposition led to the bipartisan foreign policy 
which helped win the Second World War and finally enlisted 
world-wide interest for the United Nations. 

Willkie was a curious and contradictory personality. He broke 
many precedents. He made friends by the hundreds and almost 
as many enemies. Thus he became something of an enigma. 
How can one account for the Willkie episode in American 
politics? What was his secret of personal leadership? What was 


the origin of his defense of American Enterprise and Big Busi- 
ness? Did Willkie possess a consistent and logical philosophy of 
American life or was he a mere opportunist? Did he present the 
soundest opposition to the New Deal program? How shall the 
historian account for Willkie's indifference to the time-honored 
techniques of American politicians and political parties? Why 
was he unable to substitute personal leadership for party or- 
ganization and tactics? And finally, what was the significance of 
Willkie as the founder of the bipartisan foreign policy which 
was developed in the last Administration of President Roosevelt 
and continued under his successor? These are the fundamental 
questions which have guided the investigation of this story. As 
a result, this biography is essentially a study in public opinion, 
party politics, and public relations. 



A Young Man 
From Indiana 

IT WAS the first of March, 1919. Spring had not yet driven 
winter from the Indiana prairie. A sharp western wind was 
blowing. In the day coach of a Pennsylvania Railroad train 
hurrying through the midlands, sat a young man in the uniform 
of a first lieutenant of artillery. Two days earlier, at Camp 
Sherman, he had been honorably discharged from the United 
States Army. His name was Wendell Willkie. 

The journey to his native town, Elwood, was rich in asso- 
ciations. He vividly recalled the day on which Congress had 
declared war on Germany, April 6, 1917. On that very day, he 
had enlisted as a private in the Army. About a month later he 
had reported to the first Reserve Officers' Training Camp at 
Fort Benjamin Harrison, and was there commissioned a first 
lieutenant. After a training period at Harvard University under 
French military instructors, he was assigned to the 325th Field 

There were other things to recall: his happy wedding to the 
charming blue-eyed girl from Rushville, which occurred during 
a brief leave from duty in January, 1918. He had been caught 



these discourses, justice was a favorite theme. Through his 
father, the lad became keenly aware of the inequalities suffered 
by the underprivileged classes which were found even in a town 
like Elwood. 

Both had a natural predilection towards politics. The elder 
man at one time even joined the Socialist Party, although he 
usually voted the Democratic ticket. Wendell early tied himself 
to the Democratic Party. Woodrow Wilson, who was elected 
the Governor of New Jersey the year that Wendell graduated 
from high school, was to become his political idol. The boy was 
attracted to civic affairs and greatly admired his father for the 
time and devotion he gave such matters. Herman Willkie led 
almost every civic movement in town. He had been instru- 
mental in establishing the high school, the public library and 
the new building for the Methodist Church. 

The community was proud of its public school system and 
churches, which the Willkies had helped develop. They had 
moved to Elwood in 1888, four years before Wendell was born. 
Herman Willkie had come to the town to serve as superinten- 
dent of schools while he read law. After establishing the high 
school he secured the money for the building which finally 
housed the entire school system. This was the school Wendell 
entered in 1899 as a first-grader, and from which he was gradu- 
ated as a high school senior in 1910. The town also proudly 
possessed an "Opera House." 

Elwood had its ups and downs. When the Willkies came to 
Elwood it still retained the characteristics of a frontier boom 
town. Natural gas had been discovered the year before. This 
turned the farming village into a thriving industrial center. In 
1890 the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company selected the town for 
the branch site of one of its factories. Two years later the Ameri- 
can Sheet and Tin Plate Company was established which later 
became a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. 
During the decade of the nineties the population grew from 
three thousand to fifteen thousand. Other industries were at- 
tracted to the town and the future of Elwood seemed well 
assured. Herman Willkie believed the boom would last indefi- 
nitely and bought real estate extensively, expecting to make 
large profits. 


Before the boom collapsed he was able to secure a comfort- 
able home for his large family. He chose a beautiful corner plot 
at 19th and North A streets which was a nice section with many 
trees and fine houses. Here he built a three-story frame struc- 
ture with a stone foundation and a gabled roof, containing eight 
large rooms and an attic. The family moved into their new 
home about June, 1900. This was a rapturous experience for 
the children, since there was room both in the yard and the 
house for all their activities. The remainder of their childhood 
was spent in this happy spot. 

In 1903 the gas wells suddenly petered out. At once the Pitts- 
burgh Plate Glass Company closed its branch factory at Elwood 
and the tin-plate factory suspended operations. Thereafter it 
reopened from time to time as conditions fluctuated from good 
to bad. When the mills were opened, a fleeting prosperity re- 
turned to the community, and when they were closed times 
were bleak. With these reverses in the financial conditions of 
the town several thousand workers left Elwood to seek more 
stable employment elsewhere. Property values accordingly 

Herman Willkie suddenly found his law practice dwindling 
and his real estate holdings a liability. His one important client 
was the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Work- 
ers. This was the only important labor union in the town. The 
fees from a labor union in these early days were not large. But 
they added very nicely to the family income, and the connection 
with the union, moreover, brought a discussion of labor prob- 
lems into the family circle. Wendell, although still quite young, 
became much interested in the social ills of the workers. Sev- 
eral years later he came to know the men in the mill and learned 
of their conditions by working with them for one summer. 
When the big strike took place in 1909, his father showed him 
every step in the preparation of the legal case against the injunc- 
tions which the steel company was seeking. Through all these 
contacts with labor, he constantly heard his father say that some 
day "management would become enlightened." 

The strike lasted intermittently for several years. In his effort 
to win for the union, Willkie thought it might be wise to enlist 
additional counsel, and he visited Clarence Darrow in Chicago, 


taking Wendell with him. But the great man wanted $20,000 
as a retainer and $1,000 for each day in court. When the union 
officials learned of this price they thought Herman Willkie was 
doing all right for them. His fee was twenty-five dollars a day. 
Finally the case was ended and Willkie won. The injunction 
was denied. With this unique victory Wendell looked upon his 
father as without a superior in the field of law. But in reality 
the long court fight proved a hollow triumph as it weakened 
the union and reduced its membership. 

By the summer of 1906 the family financial situation had be- 
come somewhat easier, so it was decided to send Wendell to the 
Culver Military Academy summer camp. He was not robust at 
the time and it was thought the experience would help to de- 
velop him physically. But Wendell did not enjoy the military 
discipline or the rugged life of a training camp, although he did 
learn to swim and he acquired some skill in handling a sailboat. 

Wendell was fifteen when he found his first love. She was an 
attractive girl of Welsh extraction, Gwyneth Harry. Her beauty 
was unusual compared with the other girls in the town. She was 
gifted with a magnificent high soprano voice as vibrantly ap- 
pealing as her rare loveliness. Wendell first saw her in the choir 
of the small Episcopal Church where he had been taken by a 
friend to meet her. After the service he was introduced to her 
and "walked" her home. It was the beginning of a long friend- 
ship. So devoted did he become to Gwyneth that he shortly 
deserted the large Methodist Church where his father was a 
leading member to join the simple little white church of the 
Episcopalians. To please her he even became a lay reader of the 
Church. For the rest of his life he accounted himself an 

During the remainder of his high school days, Wendell was 
accustomed to leave his house half an hour early so as to hurry 
across town to pick up Gwyneth and walk her to school, al- 
though he lived within two blocks of the schoolhouse. His love 
for her cost him much of his popularity, also. In his junior year 
he was made president of the local fraternity, the Beta Phi 
Sigma. But Gwyneth, new to the community and of immigrant 
parents, was not acceptable to the Delta sorority. "Wen" was so 
deeply hurt by the rebuff to the girl he loved that he decided 


to resign from his fraternity in protest against the snobbishness 
of fraternal organizations. It was a gallant gesture. He carried 
this resentment against fraternities with him long after gradua- 
tion from high school In fact, he first attracted attention at 
the university by his loud denunciation of fraternities as anti- 

When Wendell went to Bloomington, Indiana, to matriculate 
in the state university he did not enter as a lonely freshman. 
Already there were his sister Julia, and his brothers Robert and 
Fred. Julia, the first to go to college, had established herself in 
a small apartment on the ground floor of an old house. Here 
she welcomed her brothers as one by one they came to Bloom- 
ington. Although she had finished her undergraduate work by 
the time Wendell arrived, she had remained at the university 
to take a master's degree. Always the home-maker of the family, 
she continued this activity during the college days of her 

It was in January, 1910, that Wendell entered Indiana Uni- 
versity. He had come to the university with an excellent high 
school education showing four years of English composition and 
literature, three and a half years of Latin, three years of history, 
and two years of science, including short courses in botany, 
zoology, and physics. Willkie entered college determined to 
prepare for law school. Fortunately, he came under the benign 
influence of Dr. Lillian Gay Berry, professor of classical lan- 
guages and a kind friend of Julia's. She stressed the importance 
of the classics as a broad cultural base for his law work. In after 
years, he never forgot this training, which constantly enriched 
his understanding of world events. In the early forties he wrote 
her: "If Latin did nothing else for me, it helped me to learn 
to read and no matter how much the battle rages, I can still 
forget completely while re-reading the stories of ancient Rome, 
and this is true even though these days I have to do it by the 
'pony* route." Although his courses included mathematics, 
chemistry and philosophy, it was history and economics which 
most appealed to him. In these subjects he made a distinguished 

Wendell was the most constructive of the brothers in his 
activities at the university. He hastened to participate in campus 


affairs and soon became one of the leaders of the independent 
students. In his senior year, he was elected a director of the 
Union board. In 1912 he worked very hard to organize a mock 
political convention. This proved to be a failure because he 
had neglected to check the university calendar and his affair 
was scheduled for the same day as the Indiana-Purdue baseball 
game at Lafayette, Indiana. He won a place on the university 
debating team and had the experience of traveling through the 
state for intermural contests. He sometimes carried his love of 
argumentation into the classroom, however, and "debated" with 
his teachers. 

Meanwhile, Gwyneth had entered Butler University at 
Indianapolis. As often as his bank account would permit, 
Wendell went to see her, taking a little bunch of flowers or a 
box of candy. But small differences kept popping up to cool 
their ardor for one another. "Wen" lacked a sense of rhythm 
and consequently was unable to dance, which was a great dis- 
appointment to her. Moreover, the fraternity situation bobbed 
up again, only this time it was the other way round. Gwyneth 
had done very well at Butler University and joined Kappa 
Alpha Theta sorority. Finding him outside her social orbit, she 
demanded that he join a fraternity or else lose her. It was said 
that he long debated between losing his "soul or his sweetheart." 
At last he compromised by joining Beta Theta Pi fraternity at 
the end of his last semester in college, and then sent his Beta 
pin to Gwyneth. 

Early in life, Wendell had made contacts with all kinds of 
people. At the age of nine he sold newspapers in the streets of 
Elwood. During summer vacations, he variously labored for a 
junk dealer, drove a bakery wagon, worked as a fruit and vege- 
table man, and tended the blast furnaces of the tin-plate mill. 
College vacations were spent in the wheat fields of North 
Dakota, in the oil fields of Texas or some frontier place in the 
Dakotas. In fact it was the custom of Mr. Willkie to give each of 
his sons a one-way ticket to some distant point with the expecta- 
tion that they would not only be self-sustaining during the sum- 
mer months but would save enough for the return ticket home 
in time for the fall opening of college. One summer Wendell 
had bad luck as all his savings were stolen just as he was ready 


for the trip east to Indiana. His ingenuity saved him the em- 
barrassment of wiring his father for money. He persuaded the 
local banker to give him a loan for his transportation which he 
later repaid from his own earnings. Certainly these summers 
gave him unusual experience and an acquaintance with pro- 
vincial America. 

Graduating from Indiana University in June, 1913, with an 
A.B. degree, Wendell had to earn the money before continuing 
with his law work. He had taken a number of law courses while 
completing his undergraduate requirements, so that one year in 
the law school was all he needed for his degree. 

His history professor recommended him to the Board of Edu- 
cation of Goffeyville, Kansas, where he promptly received an 
appointment to teach history in the high school. Here Wendell 
spent a busy year which was a preview of his spectacular public 
career a decade later. He plunged into many activities and 
readily impressed his personality upon the school and the com- 
munity. In a few short weeks he had organized a debating team 
called "The Senate," which followed the rules of procedure of 
the United States Senate. He delighted his team by taking them 
on frequent trips to neighboring towns for forenic contests. He 
coached the basketball team, which won the state championship, 
and he even found time to organize a high school branch of the 
YMCA which had occasional suppers. Only twenty-one years 
old, he was the youngest member of the teaching staff, and the 
idol of all his students. 

By autumn, shortly after his return for the second year, he 
received a letter from his brother Fred who was doing very well 
in Puerto Rico and wanted Wendell to join him. Fred, who had 
become head chemist at the Fajardo Sugar Company, promised 
a good job with three times the salary Wendell was earning in 
Kansas. The prospect of adventure and financial increment were 
too tempting to refuse. He left at once. The students were so 
disappointed to lose such an exciting teacher that the entire 
school went to the station to see him off. When he reached 
Elwood there was another letter from Fred saying that he need 
not hurry as the sugar crop was a month late that year. Wendell 
decided to fill in the time by taking a short refresher course in 
chemistry. As his younger brother Edward was at Oberlin Col- 


lege, Wendell decided to go there. Accordingly he spent the fall 
weeks of 1914 at Oberlin in preparation for his new work. 
Wendell sailed for Puerto Rico in January. 

Although Wendell only spent a few weeks there, Oberlin Col- 
lege proudly felt it had a kind of claim on him and in 1943 
conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. 

His work in the sugar company at Puerto Rico was tedious. 
He made up for the dullness of his laboratory duties by explor- 
ing the island and was especially attracted to the old military 
roads, in the ancient Spanish sections. He was also interested in 
the modern life of the island and visited the sugar cane fields, 
where he talked with the workers. 

By July, 1915, he had saved enough money to finish law 
school and accordingly returned to Elwood. He discovered that 
two years in Coffeyville and Puerto Rico had cooled the 
romance with Gwyneth. The break came rapidly. Gwyneth mar- 
ried another man and moved to California. Yet Wendell wasted 
no time in grieving. Life always moved rapidly for him. 

In September, 1915, he entered the law school at Indiana Uni- 
versity to complete his law work. Hardly had the semester begun 
when an old friend and fraternity brother from home, George 
DeHority, came to see him. George was going to be married to 
a girl in the neighboring town of Rushville, and he wanted 
"Wen" to be his best man. Understanding his social uneasiness, 
George hastened to assure Wendell that he would not be re- 
quired to dance with anyone. So, several weeks later, the two 
journeyed to Rushville for the great occasion. At one of the 
bridal parties, Wendell found himself sitting next to his hostess, 
a most charming girl with chestnut curls and blue, laughing 
eyes. She was, he discovered, to be the maid of honor. He had 
met so many girls in rapid succession that he had to ask her for 
her name. 

"I'm Edith Wilk, but people here call me Billie," she replied. 

"Wilk and Willkie it ought to be a good firm," he declared. 

That was the beginning of a new romance that eventually led 
to marriage. He returned to law school and saw Edith only a 
couple of times during the year. Then, in June, 1916, came 

Wendell was chosen orator for Class Day. A number of the 


seniors had joined together to plan the kind of speech he should 
give, and its radicalism was in effect a dare to the speaker. The 
title was "The New Freedom," a slogan which so recently had 
been made famous by Woodrow Wilson. The speech was a 
diatribe against the conservatism of the law school, its faculty 
and the state supreme court. The effect was intended to be 
provocative and entertaining. 

Just as Willkie began to speak, in walked the Chief Justice 
of the state supreme court with the President of the university 
and some members of the law school faculty. Now Willkie's 
fellow students became so frightened by the audacity of the 
speech they had helped prepare and egged him on to give, that 
no one applauded at the conclusion. Only a frigid silence pre- 
vailed as he took his seat. The boys had gone back on him. 
Immediately after the exercises he was summoned to the Presi- 
dent's office and told never again to attempt to be "amusing." 
When the class on Commencement Day arose to receive their 
diplomas he was the only one to be passed over. His diploma 
was privately awarded to him several days later. Although he 
failed by a narrow margin to receive Phi Beta Kappa, his high 
scholarship was recognized by the gift of a twenty-volume set of 
Encyclopedia of Law and Procedure, sent to him by the faculty. 
In 1943, when he had become famous, the chapter elected him 
to membership. Several years earlier he had visited the uni- 
versity to be honored by an LL.D. degree. An afternoon recep- 
tion was held for him. As he advanced into the crowded room 
with President-Emeritus William Bryan on one side of him and 
President Herman Wells on the other, all eyes fastened upon 
him. Suddenly he saw Professor Lillian Berry. He rushed for- 
ward, lifted her up high and kissed her on both cheeks. Pro- 
fessor Berry was amazed and delighted. The students, though a 
little stunned, were enraptured and applauded excitedly. 

But as he left the campus in 1916, without applause or tri- 
umph, he was a little dejected. However, now that he had 
secured his law degree he was ready at last for admission to the 
bar and the beginning of practice. He returned to Elwood and 
his father's law office. Above all others he still admired his 
father for his legal wisdom and his grasp of judicial analysis. 
Moreover, Wendell loved the town, the streets and the trees and 


his old companions. It was the place he wanted to live always. 
It was home. 

No sooner had he returned to Elwood than he became in- 
volved in politics and was promptly elected president of the 
Young Democratic Club of Elwood. The presidential campaign 
of 1916 was just getting under way. Oswald Ryan, of Madison 
County, was campaigning that summer for the office of state's 
attorney on the Republican ticket. He conducted his speech- 
making tour in a dray and made his speeches from it in the 
streets. Thus he came to Elwood. When he finished speaking 
Willkie came up to him and reaching up his hand said: "I like 
your style. If you will get down from up there I will take you to 
the Democratic headquarters and introduce you to my friends." 
Ryan was elected prosecuting attorney, and his first case was 
against a man whom young Willkie was defending. Willkie lost 
the case to Ryan. Years later they met frequently in Washington. 
But Ryan never forgot that first meeting and how politically 
alive Willkie was, even in 1916. 

During this exciting summer an old friend came to Wendell 
with another idea. How nice it would be to get Edith Wilk to 
move over to Elwood. Willkie promptly agreed that it was a 
wonderful idea, but how could it be achieved. The friend had 
it all figured out. A place in the Elwood Library would soon be 
vacant, and Edith was the assistant librarian at Rushville. All 
they had to do was to win over the library board, and didn't they 
have influence? Weren't their fathers on the board? So it was 
arranged that Edith Wilk should be offered the position, which 
she promptly accepted. 

Once Edith was in Elwood, Wendell began to court her in 
earnest. Mrs. Willkie was rude to the young stranger. Edith 
stood it for three months and then she rushed home. Wendell 
rushed after her, but she could not be persuaded to return. So 
he continued his courting by trolley car. Then suddenly Amer- 
ica entered the war, and they were all shaken out of their happy- 
go-lucky world. 

These were the events that filled the mind of the young 
soldier as he sat in the train carrying him back to his home town. 
Now these things seemed far away as if they belonged to another 


world. The war had so completely raised a barrier to all things 

The return of Wendell Willkie to his home town was not 
auspicious. There was something sweet and engaging about this 
young man who expected to bring his bride to the town of his 
birth to launch his career, but his mother promptly told him 
that there was not enough legal practice in Elwood for three 
Wil Ikies and that he should look elsewhere. Perhaps this was 
her way to goad him into larger fields. Perhaps she feared that if 
he settled down in Elwood he would never achieve the success 
that she had envisaged for him. Whatever may have been her 
motive, it was a cruel realization for the young officer that there 
was no place for him in his own home town. 

Herman Willkie was disappointed by the turn of events. He 
had long looked forward to the time when his son would join 
him in legal practice. Bowing to his wife's point of view, he 
now wrote his old friend, Frank C. Dailey, of the Indianapolis 
bar, to seek his help in finding a place for Wendell. Meanwhile 
Dale Crittenberger, Democratic boss of Anderson County, asked 
Willkie to come to see him. He told the young veteran that the 
Republican Congressman, Bert Vestal, could be defeated, and 
promised that he could make Willkie the Democratic candidate 
for the Eighth Congressional District of Indiana. To a young- 
man always fascinated by politics, this was a dazzling proposal. 
He asked for time to think about it. With his head in the 
clouds, he returned home already decided in his own mind that 
he would soon be representing his district on Capitol Hill in 
Washington. But his father persuaded him not to be too hasty 
and to discuss the matter with "Uncle Frank," as the family 
affectionately referred to Frank Dailey. An appointment was 

Seated comfortably in the elder man's office, he related his 
plan to go into politics. But Dailey quickly disillusioned him. 
'Ton are several kinds of a fool if you start out running for 
office. Of course you could be elected. But how long would you 
last? Maybe two terms! Your district is normally Republican, 
and the tide will soon turn against you. Then you would come 
back to Elwood and have nothing. In the interim you would 
have lost your chance to become a good lawyer/ 1 Instead of 


politics, Dailey advised him to take the opening he had secured 
for him at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company at Akron. 
Considerably deflated, Willkie returned home. The following 
day he told an amazed Crittenberger that he declined the honor 
of running for Congress on the Democratic ticket. By the first of 
April he was on his way to Akron to become a "good lawyer," 
at a salary of $2,500 a year. His wife accepted cheerfully the 
decision to move to a new and strange community, although she 
was going to have a baby. 


A Yoong Man 
Founds His Career 

WENDELL WILLKIE possessed the happy talent of identify- 
ing himself with the community in which he lived. As the young 
couple took up their abode in Akron, the city became to them 
the center of their interests, expectations and dreams. Because 
of Willkie's lively historical curiosity, he soon knew more of the 
city's background than most of the older inhabitants, while his 
compelling interest in men and affairs led him to master as 
many details of the industry, commerce and municipal govern- 
ment as were known to the secretary of the Akron Chamber of 

Akron in 1920 was a growing municipality of alert citizens, 
gigantic energy, and with a tradition that seemed to stem from 
the frontier west. It was the county seat of Summit County. 
Situated in a range of hills, surrounded by lakes and overlook- 
ing the Big and Little Cuyahoga rivers, it was thirty-five miles 
from its industrial rival, Cleveland. The city was a rail center 
of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad, 
the Erie, Canton and Youngstown Railroad, and the Northern 
Ohio Railroad. 



OTIS voyage not only gold, silver, and ivory, but apes and 
peacocks, "for so the writings present us, together with diverse 
substantial and noble experiments, theories which either like 
peacock's feathers make a great show, but are neither solid nor 
useful, or else like apes, if they have some appearance of being 
rational, are blemished with some absurdity or other that, 
when they are attentively considered, makes them appear 

And as his writings, so was Paracelsusstrange mixture of 
honest, fitful, fearless crusader, and mystic, cowardly seeker 
after gold. 



P \RACELSUS lies buried in his grave for more than two cen- 
turies. Great political upheavals have shaken the founda- 
tion of Europe and institutions have gone tumbling to the 
ground. The French have stormed their Bastille in Paris 
while eager, greedy, curious men pottered around in smoky 
laboratories ever seeking to unravel some o the secrets of 

The anniversary of the storming of the Bastille is approach- 
ing. Over in Birmingham, England, liberal men are planning 
to celebrate this historic day. Modestly, quietly, without drum- 
beat or torchlight, they gather in the meetinghouse of the town. 
Among these lovers of human freedom is a dissenting minister, 
named Joseph Priestley, who, too, has joined this group to com- 
memorate the emancipation of a neighboring nation from 

It is July 14, 1791. Outside the meeting place two men on 
horseback are stationed in front of a wild mob. One of them 
is reading a long document, prepared by an agent of the King: 
"The Presbyterians intend to rise. They are planning to burn 
down the Church. They will blow up the Parliament. They are 
planning a great insurrection like that in Prance. The King's 
head will be cut off, and dangled before you. Damn it! you 
see they will destroy us! We must ourselves crush them before 
it is too late." The cry of Church and King goes up and a 
thousand men break loose. And as the magistrates of the city 
look on and applaud, Priestley's meetinghouse is burned to 
the ground. 

The clergy all over England had inflamed the people against 
the Dissenters. Priestley was also an enemy of the government 
party. He had been a thorn in its side for years. Openly siding 
with the American colonists in their struggle for independence, 
he had brazenly broadcast letters like the following which 
Benjamin Franklin had sent him. "Britain, at the expense of 
three millions/* wrote the candlemaker's son from Philadel- 
phia, "has killed one hundred and fifty Yankees this campaign, 
which is twenty thousand pounds a head; and at Bunker's Hill 
she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our 



demanded he be summarily arrested and put in jail. As defense 
counsel, Willkie rose and faced the ten opposing lawyers. He 
explained to the Court that Kroeger had not been legally served 
with the writ of summons and thus was not subject to contempt 
proceedings. Casting his eye upon the group of attorneys con- 
fronting him, Willkie appealed dramatically to the Judge to 
"straighten them out on this point." The Court sustained 
Willkie and refused to issue the contempt order. 

Willkie had kept Kroeger in seclusion until depositions could 
be taken from Firestone officials. Thus the plaintiffs were 
obliged to show their hand. Willkie's procedure proved effec- 
tive, and the case was never tried. After numerous motions and 
demurrers had been filed, the matter was settled out of court, to 
the favor and satisfaction of Kroeger, in the summer of 1926. 

The publicity of the Firestone case together with his more 
flexible schedule brought Willkie into greater participation in 
civic affairs. The American Legion provided him with a con- 
stant public forum to launch his ideas. At the same time, his 
commanding position within the Legion added prestige and 
strength to his political activity. Upon establishing his residence 
in Akron, he had identified himself with the Democratic Party 
and as he became well known in the community was enlisted 
in local campaigning. He especially participated in the activity 
for the re-election of Martin L. Davey to Congress. Because of 
his loyal party support he was selected as a delegate to the 
National Democratic Convention of 1924. In this hotly con- 
tested convention, which consumed eleven weary days and re- 
quired 103 roll calls for the selection of a presidential candi- 
date, Willkie opposed the nomination of William G. McAdoo 
because of the suspicion of support from the Ku Klux Klan. 
Willkie, like many Democrats, was an ardent admirer of the 
lovable Alfred E. Smith. On the first sixty-two ballots in the con- 
vention, the Ohio delegation cast forty-eight votes for James M. 
Cox, its "favorite son." For the next ten ballots, the Ohio dele- 
gation voted as a unit for Newton D. Baker, another "favorite 
son." On the seventy-fourth ballot, Willkie and some twenty 
other delegates, at last had the opportunity to vote for Al Smith. 
But after the decline in the drive for Smith, on the ninety-first 
ballot, Willkie joined the final movement for John W. Davis. 


Willkie was one of the most vigorous opponents of the Ku 
Klux Klan at the New York Convention. He supported the 
resolution to denounce this un-American organization in the 
Democratic platform. Recognizing his leadership in this matter, 
the Klan in Akron sent him a telegram at the convention asking 
sarcastically when he had "joined the payroll of the Pope." As 
Willkie later related the story, finding himself short of funds, he 
simply telegraphed back the curt message: "The Klan can go 
to hell." 

In the early post-war years, the Ku Klux Klan was a powerful 
organization in Ohio. It stood for ultraconservatism in domestic 
policy and isolation in foreign policy. The secret clique was part 
of the counter-clockwise movement that followed the Wilsonian 
reforms and the wartime restrictions. Willkie was one of the 
conspicuous leaders who finally broke the power of the Klan 
in Ohio. 

In all these speeches and activities, Willkie was the crusader. 
He liked to call himself the champion of the common man. Yet 
there was also something of the actor in him. On numerous 
occasions, he had been known to jump down from the platform 
where he was speaking and stride down the aisle waving his 
long arms as he exhorted his listeners to a particular point of 
view. His interests were wide as his activities. He knew the prob- 
lems of industry and the struggles of labor. He made speeches 
to all kinds of groups and defended all kinds of people. He was 
counsel for corporations, but he also defended truck-drivers and 
workers. Thus his reputation spread throughout the state. 

Willkie was a man of great personal charm and easily at- 
tracted the attention of people wherever he went. As a result of 
the associations he made at the 1924 Convention, he received 
several interesting offers to go to New York. Perhaps the most 
flattering one came from James W. Gerard, former ambassador 
to Germany. 

It was Bernard Capen Cobb, however, who finally induced 
him to leave Ohio. In 1929, Cobb had organized the billion- 
dollar utility company known as Commonwealth and Southern 
' Corporation, which was a merger of 165 companies including 
the Northern Ohio Power and Light Company. It was as presi- 
dent of this company that Cobb first became acquainted with 


Willkie, whose law firm handled the cases for the Northern 
Ohio Power and Light Company. Cobb was a genius of finance 
and one of the great empire-builders of American industry. He 
early recognized the need for a utility combination, honestly 
constructed, which would increase power service and decrease 
rates. The Commonwealth and Southern Corporation was the 
fulfillment of this objective. With the completion of this gigan- 
tic merger, Cobb needed a brilliant young man in the New 
York office. Accordingly, he urged Willkie to join the firm of 
Weadock and Weadock, legal counsel for CfcS, as a partner at 
three times his Akron salary. 

Willkie had now lived ten years in Akron and was a director 
of the Ohio State Bank and Trust Company, a director of the 
South Akron Savings Association, of which Kroeger was presi- 
dent, and a director of the Acme Mortgage Company. He was 
the youngest man on the board of the Northern Ohio Power and 
Light Company and he was president of the Akron Bar Associa- 
tion. For the departure of such a prominent citizen, there were 
many farewell banquets and toasts to his future success. 

Exhilarated by the excitement of life in New York, Willkie 
increased his tempo of achievement. Not only was he most 
adaptable to the new environment, but he mastered in a few 
months the principles of the utility business. His colleagues 
soon recognized that the newcomer was a marked man. Indeed 
New York took kindly to this young man from Indiana. He 
made friends rapidly in all circles, including Thomas Lamont, 
of the House of Morgan, and Helen Reid (Mrs. Ogden Reid), 
vice-president of the Herald Tribune. Financiers, writers, 
artists, actors and scholars all accepted him warmly. His tramps 
across the country during summer vacations meeting all kinds 
of people had given him an easy manner so that he was as much 
at home in his lofty office on Pine Street, New York, discussing 
the market on bonds as he was sitting on a fence in Indiana, 
talking to a neighboring fanner about the crops. 

Always affable, simple and spontaneous in his human rela- 
tions, he was easy to like and easy to know. It was said that 
before he went into politics anyone could walk into his office for 
a conference. On several occasions his office staff attempted to 


sift the people whom he should see. When he learned about this, 
he gave instructions he wanted to see everybody. 

His comfortable manner captivated his visitors. Sitting in his 
upholstered chair, he would twist himself into a half-lounging 
position with one leg swung over the chair arm. This lolling 
posture gave him the appearance of leisure. It also accounted 
for the crumpled suits he wore. Although he put on a pressed 
suit each morning, there was nothing left of its freshness by 
noonday. The tousled hair and the rumpled suit became char- 
acteristic of him, perhaps all the more so because they were 
unusual on Wall Street. And often, if Willkie put his feet on 
his desk, the visitor would behold mended shoes. Many home- 
spun habits of his youth lingered with him always. Having the 
soles of his shoes repaired by a round patch was one of them. 
This complete disregard of appearance was frequently a source 
of embarrassment to some of the senior members of the firm 
who brought the great of Wall Street into his office to meet him. 
Yet he was a man of remarkably magnetic personality. 

In appearance Willkie was strikingly handsome. His stature 
was imposing. He stood six feet one inch in height and weighed 
about two hundred pounds. For his habit of running his hand 
through his hair as he talked, there was usually a stray lock 
hanging over his forehead. The blackness of his hair enhanced 
the vivid blue of his eyes, eyes that always seemed to have 
a twinkle. He also had another unusual feature, a cleft chin. 
(Artists for some reason usually tried to sketch over this feature 
after he became famous.) Besides his appearance, it was his 
friendly, warm personality coupled with a fine sense of humor 
and quick repartee that made him a favorite among his wide 
circle of acquaintances. 

But with all his popularity and marked ability he would not 
have advanced with such spectacular rapidity had he not won 
the esteem and confidence of Bernard Capen Cobb, one of the 
mystery men in the history of American utility enterprise, who 
modestly avoided the inquiries of the newsmen who chronicled, 
day by day, the process of Big Business. 

Cobb was born in 1870 of old New England stock. He was 
educated at Phillips Andover Academy, after which he plunged 
into business activity. 


At eighteen years of age he followed the popular nineteenth 
century trek westward and entered the employment of the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad Company at Grand Rapids, Michigan. At 
this time, electric power and light and gas companies, estab- 
lished as separate units in municipalities, had begun the process 
of consolidation for the purpose of obtaining cheaper financing. 
Utilities were entering the phase of industrial development 
known as "Big Business." 

Almost from the beginning, young Cobb participated in that 
miracle of modern business, mass production. In 1895 he left 
railroading and became an official in the construction depart- 
ment of the Grand Rapids Gas Light Company. Shortly after 
the turn of the century, he went to New York City to supervise 
more extensive projects. For fifteen years he operated, con- 
structed, acquired, consolidated and financed utility properties. 

In the 1920's he became associated with Landon Thorne and 
Alfred Loomis, investment bankers. Together, they undertook 
a series of public utility consolidations which culminated in 
1929 when 165 companies were brought together in a billion- 
dollar holding company under the name of Commonwealth and 
Southern Corporation. On Wall Street, this achievement was 
hailed as one of the landmarks in utility financial history. The 
gigantic undertaking was accomplished without corporate chi- 
canery such as characterized the manipulations of Samuel Insull 
and Howard C. Hopson. These buccaneers of finance were 
already bringing disrepute to the entire industry, by their 
matchless ingenuity of stock pyramiding and reckless system of 
interlocking holding companies. 

The impending storm of government regulation was not 
apparent when Cobb consummated the formation of C&S. He 
had chosen Thomas W. Martin, head of the Alabama Power 
Company, a subsidiary, as president of CfeS. Cobb became chair- 
man of the board. In 1932, however, Cobb sent Martin back to 
the Alabama Power Company and himself took over the presi- 
dency while he searched for a successor. 

Surveying the field of half a hundred available junior execu- 
tives, he decided that Wendell Willkie was the most desirable 
and competent. Cobb liked his dash and verve, his quickness 
in seizing hold of intricate problems of management and 


finance. Hence Cobb drew Willkie ever more closely into every 
phase of the intricate management of the giant corporation. 
Together they visited every operating plant in the vast system 
and discussed all problems with the local management. Cobb 
was pleased to see how easily Willkie won the confidence of 
these staff officers and understood their technical difficulties. 
Thus Cobb was ever more thoroughly convinced that Willkie 
was the right man to carry on the operations of the financial 
empire he had created. 

In late 1932, ill health prompted Cobb to move Willkie more 
rapidly into command of the Commonwealth and Southern 
Corporation than he had previously planned. Suddenly, on the 
evening of January 24, 1933, Cobb decided that the time had 
come. The following morning, he telephoned to a member of 
the board, requesting him to propose the name of Willkie as 
president at the board meeting on that very day. Confirmation 
was promptly made. In this simple way, Willkie was elevated 
to one of the most spectacular and powerful positions on Wall 

The following day witnessed a ripple of surprise on Wall 
Street at the choice of Willkie as president of the mighty C&S. 
Some observers felt that in view of his lack of real experience 
in the operation of public utilities it was a mistake to place him 
in such a responsible position of leadership. Certainly his com- 
petence was still to be tested. 

Willkie had always been a man of vast energy. In his new 
position he became a dynamo. No member of his staff could 
match his pace. His rapid conduct of business left his associates 
exhausted. It was not an uncommon occurrence for him to tele- 
phone a colleague at two o'clock in the morning or to arouse 
him at sunrise to discuss some new phase of a problem which 
had just occurred to him. These unusual calls were never 
limited to a few minutes. They often were extended discussions 
of a half hour or more. Such tactics were no doubt helpful to 
Willkie in thinking through a problem, but they kept his staff 
continually on edge. 

A news ticker was installed in the Pine Street office and 
closely watched for official statements, especially during the 
struggle with the Tennessee Valley Authority. The comments 


of President Roosevelt at his press conferences in the White 
House were anxiously awaited. When news was expected to 
break, Willkie asked his staff to remain at the office throughout 
the evening. At such times, he would munch a sandwich at his 
desk in order to avoid missing any important item. He even 
resented any desertion by his colleagues who sought more sub- 
stantial food in near-by restaurants. When a derogatory state- 
ment appeared on the news ticker, the entire staff would work 
desperately to prepare the counter-statement for release to the 
press for the morning papers. In this way, the answer to the 
President's attack on Willkie and the utilities appeared in the 
same issue of the newspaper as the White House statement itself. 

Cobb's health grew progressively worse until June, 1934, 
when he retired as chairman of the board of directors and from 
all active participation in the affairs of Commonwealth and 
Southern Corporation. Willkie now combined the office of 
chairman and president under his own direction. By the same 
arrangement, four directors resigned from the board in order 
to make room for the presidents of the four larger operating 
units of C&S, with the purpose of integrating more effectively 
the vast utility empire. Fate had now placed Willkie in a unique 
and powerful position on the eve of a political storm that was 
to shake the foundations of public utilities in this country. In 
November, 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected 
President of the United States. During the presidential cam- 
paign, his sharp attack on public utilities had annoyed the 
executives of the industry, yet few had taken the New Deal can- 
didate too seriously. Willkie was one of the few leaders of the 
industry who seemed to sense a foreshadowing of the approach- 
ing danger to private operations in America. 

An era of American history, so to speak, separated the young 
Willkie and the most powerful figure in the utilities, Samuel 
Insull. The men were utterly unlike in their attitude toward 
government and business and the public morals of corporate 
wealth. Insull was typical of the * 'robber-barons" of the nine- 
teenth century. Willkie represented the enlightened industrial 
leadership of the twentieth century. Insull and Willkie had one 
contact with each other which left them without admiration 
one for the other. It was a clash of the old and the new. They 


met at a meeting of utility executives in 1929 when Insull was 
at the height of his power. At that meeting Insull was bitter in 
his denouncement of agitators and radicals. He declared that 
there should be a way to silence the critics of Big Business. Then 
someone asked Willkie what he thought. Promptly and cou- 
rageously the young man declared that he had always defended 
the right of the opposition to be heard. If his ideas were well 
founded, society would benefit thereby, and if they were not 
well founded the ideas would fall on barren soil to no one's hurt. 

As Willkie concluded his little speech there was an awkward 
pause and a tense kind of silence. The arrogant Insull turned 
on the young man and said with devastating coldness: "Mr. 
Willkie, when you are older, you will know more!" 

Clearly, Willkie believed in change and reforms. In fact he 
had long opposed the sort of industrial empire that Insull had 
created. To prevent such racketeering as the Mid- West Utilities 
Company, he advocated federal laws to regulate holding com- 
panies long before such a measure was introduced in Congress. 
In fact, Willkie went further. He believed there should be a 
national law for incorporation which would eliminate at the 
start many of the evils in holding companies. Likewise, he felt 
that government regulation of the New York Stock Exchange 
was needed. The entire field of public utilities would be im- 
proved, he thought, if the wolves in the industry were brought 
under control by proper legislation. 

In his enlightened view of business he held that wealth was 
a public trust to be used wisely in the public interest. A well- 
organized business in which the interests of stockholders and 
consumers and workers were equally protected was a healthy 
enterprise for society. This concept was in sharp contrast to the 
policy of Insull who milked his subsidiary companies to the pub- 
lic hurt and who finally lost the confidence of the people in his 

The black depression of 1929 opened the flood-gates of criti- 
cism upon Big Business, especially utility companies. In its 
attack on President Hoover as the representative of Big Business, 
the Democratic Party was quick to seize upon this issue in the 
presidential campaign of 1932. When the ballots were counted, 
it was found that the Democrats had ridden into office commit- 


ted to wide-sweeping reforms and regulatory laws for business 
enterprise. With this objective Willkie was in agreement. But 
even as a Democrat he was not prepared for the sudden and 
bitter attacks against all Big Business as soon as the victorious 
party was installed in Washington. Willkie had little more than 
got his office organized as the new president of C&S when the 
storm broke. For the next six years he spent most of his time 
defending free enterprise against the onslaughts of the New 


The Attack on 

Government Monopoly 

WENDELL WILLKIE had been president of Commonwealth 
and Southern Corporation scarcely three months when he was 
drawn into the spectacular controversy between the public 
utilities and the New Deal. At the outset, neither Willkie nor 
the utility magnates of New York and Chicago were aware of 
the seriousness of the New Deal challenge to the utility indus- 
try. Indeed, it was with some surprise that Willkie read the 
notable speech of the Democratic candidate delivered at Port- 
land, Oregon, on September 21, 1932. As Governor of New 
York, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been a critic of public utilities, 
yet the Portland speech seemed to be unusually capricious and 
vindictive. Willkie was not particularly disturbed by the words: 
"The object of Government is the welfare of the people. When 
the interests of the many are concerned, the interests of the few 
must yield. . . . Those are the essential basic conditions under 
which Government can be of service." While these words sug- 
gested the welfare state, Willkie considered the speech as only 
the glittering promises of a political campaign. He took more 
seriously the New Deal candidate's charge that all public utili- 



ties operated on the same low level of morality as the "Insull 
monstrosity 1 ' which had taken money from the people to the 
extent of over one-and-a-half billions of dollars and whose 
methods were wholly "contrary to every sound public policy." 
Willkie was further shocked to find that the Democratic candi- 
date proposed to whip the utilities into line by the establishment 
of four great power developments by the Government, involving 
the St. Lawrence River in the Northeast, Muscle Shoals in the 
Southeast, Boulder Dam in the Southwest, and the Columbia 
River in the Northwest. "Each of these in each of the four quar- 
ters of the United States, Roosevelt promised, "will be forever 
a national yardstick to prevent extortion against the public and 
to encourage the wider use of that servant of the people electric 

Willkie was too shrewd an observer of political events to fail 
to observe that a momentous decision had been made by the 
Democratic candidate. Although Willkie had long been active 
in the Democratic Party and had even been a delegate to the 
National Convention of 1932, he cast his vote in this election 
with some misgivings. He had worked in the convention for 
Al Smith first, and Newton D. Baker second. Thus lie was not 
won over to the Roosevelt candidacy. But he was still too good a 
Democrat to take a walk. 

It was on April 11, 1933, shortly after the inauguration of 
Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States that 
the Tennessee Valley Authority Bill was introduced in the new 
Congress by Senator George W. Norris. This bill, under the 
legislative name of S.I 272, was later replaced by H.R.5081, 
which differed from it only in details. Willkie recognized that 
the proposed bill was a challenge to all his faith and beliefs in 
constitutional law of the United States and even in democracy 

Looking upon the projected Tennessee Valley Authority as 
public competition with private industry on the grand scale, 
Willkie felt that this policy would not only destroy his business 
but eventually would destroy free enterprise. Long before his 
associates, he perceived the implication of the welfare state. 
With high courage and rash audacity he launched an attack 
upon the New Deal. It was a spectacular performance. Opposi- 


tion to government monopoly would be his greatest case. He 
was to defend a system of philosophy which for one hundred 
and fifty years had been the American way of life. The issue was 
individualism as opposed to the welfare state. The entire nation 
would be his courtroom in this great controversy. The battle 
was waged in Congress, in the courts, and in the forum of public 
opinion. In the end, his legal skill and sharp daring were to stir 
a lethargic and confused country. 

However, at no time did he discuss the relative soundness of 
the Government's venture into such a project as TVA. Nor did 
he ever discuss other features of TVA, such as navigation, flood 
control and defense production of minerals. From this point 
of view Willkie might have made quite a case out of the TVA 
Bill, which the title called a flood control measure. Some en- 
gineers pointed out the problem of having both flood control 
and power from the same dam since in the one, emphasis must 
be on water storage which requires an empty reservoir, and in 
the other emphasis must be on "firm power," which necessitates 
a full reservoir. The two requirements are, therefore, frequently 
opposed. In order to meet this problem the Government had 
to construct, at an enormous cost, nine dams, so coordinated as 
to provide for both power and flood control, and in addition, to 
furnish optimum conditions for navigation. 

The six operating companies of C&S in the South used steam 
plants, which most engineers agreed was the modern way to 
produce power and which easily provided firm power. 

If the Government had been willing to contract its power at 
the switch to C&S and other private companies, as had been 
contemplated in New York State when Roosevelt was Governor 
and the St. Lawrence hydro-electric plant was discussed, there 
would have been no controversy. This might very well have 
been possible if it had not been for the starry-eyed reformers 
around the President who sought vengeance. In any event the 
Government by March, 1951, was ready and willing to contract 
its power at the switch to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company 
from the great Shasta Dam in California. 

But Willkie did not discuss such technical features of TVA. 
In fact he never even questioned the production of electric 
power from the government-owned dams. His only point of 


opposition was that such public power should not be put on the 
market in direct competition with private companies who were 
efficiently producing power at a reasonable rate. No private 
company could hope to compete with a government-subsidized 
industry. The crux of the issue was whether the federal Govern- 
ment could enter into open market operations against private 
industry. If it could do so in the field of utilities, it could do 
so in countless other businesses, with disastrous effects on the 
system of free enterprise. 

On Friday morning, April 14, 1933, Willkie sat at the long 
table facing the Military Affairs Committee of the House of 
Representatives. This young, handsome, dynamic executive pre- 
sented a dramatic figure as he told his story. Justice was his plea, 
justice for 300,000 owners of securities in the six companies of 
the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation whose proper- 
ties in the Tennessee Valley would be endangered by the TVA 
program as outlined in the pending bill. These stockholders and 
bondholders were not speculators, Willkie explained, but men 
and women who thought that they were putting their savings 
into safe high-grade securities. Local bankers had recommended 
such investments, because these utility issues had been approved 
by the public utility commission of the state in which each 
company operated. The investors, for the most part, were com- 
mon people who lived in the Tennessee Valley and earned 
their living there. Indeed, their investments were relatively 
small and averaged no more than about four thousand dollars. 

The distressed investors had besieged him, Willkie said, with 
thousands of letters since the day when Senator N orris had in- 
troduced the measure in Congress. They became more and more 
hysterical as they saw the value of their investments drop in the 
markets of the nation. Should they sell at once or should they 
wait for the rebound from the depressed value induced by the 
pending TVA Bill? To add to the panic of these investors, bank- 
ing houses in New York had advised their customers to sell all 
utilities as soon as the Norris Bill was introduced. 

In the name of justice, therefore, Willkie asked compensation 
for these unhappy investors. Pointing out that plans had already 
been made to compensate the real estate owners in the Tennes- 
see Valley for their land which would be flooded by the TVA 


project, he asked that security holders be treated with equal 

To cover in full the investments of the bondholders, pre- 
ferred stockholders, and the common stockholders, Willkie 
asked for government compensation to the extent of $500,- 
000,000. This was considerably less, he pointed out, than the 
capital invested in the Tennessee Valley by his company, which 
amounted to $600,000,000. Commonwealth and Southern 
maintained the largest utility service in the Southeast and it 
provided sixty-four per cent of the power service in the Valley. 
If this market were destroyed, he said, the properties would be 
worth only their value as salvage. And the TVA Bill, with its 
proposed building of transmission lines, would destroy the CfeS 

He also offered an alternative plan, one which would save 
his companies a loss and also protect the investors. He proposed 
that all or any part of the electric current generated by the gov- 
ernment plants be carried by CfeS lines which were already 
established. In this way the Government would be spared the 
cost of building its own lines, and the C&S companies would 
be saved from ruinous competition. Whatever saving would re- 
sult from the TVA production of power, he promised to pass 
on to the consumer. He made one stipulation. The contract 
would have to be from fifteen years to thirty years so as not to 
impair his company's long-term borrowing power. 

Willkie's eloquence was fruitless. The TVA Bill (H.R.5081) 
became law with the President's signature on May 18, 1933. The 
vote in the House stood 306 to 92, with 34 not voting; and in the 
Senate it was 63 to 20, with 12 not voting. The public had not 
been greatly stirred by the debate. 

Willkie recognized that the economic crisis facing the nation 
in the spring of 1933 had conspired to promote great public 
adventures such as the TVA. With widespread unemployment 
and the critical runs on the banks around the country, he had 
rejoiced in the noble courage of the President in his inaugural 
message that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." But 
then he beheld the President using this fear to drive through 
Congress legislation that had long been repugnant to American 
traditions. He felt that opinion of the Muscle Shoals develop- 


I hope to rise to something more excellent still." Death did not 
crush him. A year after his arrival in America he had lost his 
son Henry, after only a few days' illness, and within a 
few months his wife, too, was taken from him. But he hoped 
soon to meet them again, for he awaited a real material return 
of Christ upon earth. 

At eight o'clock, Monday morning, February 6, 1804, the 
old minister lay in bed knowing the end was very near. He 
called for three pamphlets on which he had lately been at 
work. Always a careful writer, clearly and distinctly he dic- 
tated several changes to be made before they were sent to the 
printer. He asked his secretary to repeat the instructions he 
had given him. The dying man was dissatisfied: "Sir, you 
have put it in your own language; I wish it to be in mine/* 
He then repeated his instructions almost word for word, and 
when it was read to him again, he was contented. "That is 
right," he said, "I have done now." Half an hour later he was 

Priestley's home in Northumberland, still in perfect pres- 
ervation, was dedicated by the chemists of America many years 
ago as a permanent memorial. Close to this building there 
has been erected a fireproof museum to house much of his ap- 
paratusflasks, gun barrels, glass tubes, vials, corks, bottles, 
balance, crucibles, pneumatic trough chiefly the work of his 
own hands. Among another collection at Dickinson College in 
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was placed a large compound burning- 
^lass similar to the one with which he prepared the gas that 
has placed the name of Joseph Priestley among the immortals 
of chemistry. 





IN 1366 King Edward III of England raised John de Caven- 
dish to the exalted office of Lord Chief Justice of the King's 
Bench. Sir John could trace his ancestry back to Robert de 
Gernon, a famous Norman who aided William the Conqueror. 
This same Cavendish was later murdered for revenge, because 
his son was accused of slaying Wat Tyler, leader of an insur- 
rection. Two centuries later the name of Cavendish was again 
glorified by the noted freebooter Thomas Cavendish, the 
second Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. 

On October 10, 1731, at Nice, a son was born to Lady Anne 
Cavendish, who had gone to France in search of health. This 
Cavendish was not destined to wield power in public life, as 
his parents had hoped. Rather did he devote his long life to 
the cultivation of science purely for its own sake. In him the 
pioneer spirit was to push back the frontiers of chemical 

Here was a singular character who played with chemical 
apparatus and weighed the earth, while more than a million 
pounds deposited in his name in the Bank of England re- 
mained untouched. His bankers had been warned by this ec- 
centric man not to come and plague him about his wealth, or 
he would immediately take it out of their hands. 

Gripped by an almost insane interest in the secrets of na- 
ture, this man worked alone, giving not a moment's thought 
to his health or appearance. Those who could not understand 
the curiosity of this intellectual giant laughed at the richest 
man in England, who never owned but one suit of clothes at 
a time and continued to dress in the habiliments of a previous 
century, and shabby ones, to boot. This man could have led 
the normal life of an active nobleman. His family wanted him 
to enter politics, but instead he lived as a recluse, and devoted 
his life to scientific research. While other natural philosophers 
wasted time and energy squabbling over the priority of this 
or that discovery, or arguing one theory or another, Cavendish 
could be found among his flasks and tubes, probing, ex- 
perimenting, discovering altogether unconcerned about the 
plaudits and honors of his contemporaries. 



power, while TVA could make their kilowatt costs appear less 
by charging a larger portion to navigation or flood control. 

The other change he asked for in the interest of a fair "yard- 
stick" was that TVA be required to fix rates to return a fair 
profit upon the investment the same as private companies must 
do in order to survive. He told the committee that he welcomed 
a yardstick, but it should be a measurement whereby public as 
as well as private companies conform to the same rules. "If this 
yardstick could once be established on exactly the same basis, 
three years from now there would not be a public plant in the 
United States/' he confidently predicted. Furthermore, he told 
a surprised committee: "Give private companies the same advan- 
tages. Pass a bill guaranteeing the obligations of Commonwealth 
and Southern system, and I will cut every rate in our companies 
3314 per cent." 

By his brilliant logic Willkie had presented a damaging argu- 
ment against TVA, and some of the members of the committee 
were clearly impressed. His plea was for "simple justice." In the 
Congressional hearings on the original TVA Act, he had asked 
justice for his security holders. In the hearings on the amend- 
ment he asked justice for his corporation, the Commonwealth 
and Southern. He showed not only that the TVA Act was unfair 
to business but that all public competition with private industry 
must by its nature be unfair and destructive competition. 

Turning from such inconsistencies as the "rubber yard- 
stick" policy, Willkie attacked methods used in the establish- 
ment of the TVA and the procedure of squeezing out established 
private enterprise in the area. Faced with such ruinous competi- 
tion, he was willing to sell any or all of his southern companies 
to TVA at a price which would protect his security holders. 
Therefore, Willkie asked for national legislation whereby util- 
ity companies in the area of public competition be promptly 
condemned so that a court of law might speedily determine a 
fair and equitable price of sale. This, he pointed out, was in the 
American tradition. What we are asking, said the eloquent presi- 
dent of C&S, is for you to require that if we cannot agree on 
price, an American court shall determine the price, according 
to the established rules of law. Just require them to condemn 
our properties, and eliminate every possible delay. "I do not ask 


you to take my price. I ask you not to take their price. . . . Re- 
quire them to condemn it, and let happen what has happened 
since the beginning of the foundation of English justice." 

Upon requests from members of the committee, he gave 
several examples of TVA tactics. There was the instance of the 
properties in Alcorn County, Alabama, which had cost $617,312, 
but for which the TVA offered $234,000. Nevertheless he de- 
cided to sell. In the background was the story of his discourag- 
ing negotiation with Lilienthal early in 1934. In his desire to 
co-operate with TVA in the establishment of a true yardstick, 
and at the same time wishing to preserve the territorial integrity 
of his C&S system in the South, he had entered into a contract 
with the Authority on January 4, 1934. This contract was for a 
period of five years, and provided for options to purchase elec- 
tric properties in certain counties of Alabama, Mississippi and 
Tennessee, the sale of distribution systems to municipalities in 
these counties, restrictions on territorial expansion by the con- 
tracting parties, and the interchange of power. His purpose in 
making this contract, he declared, had been to limit the area in 
which the TVA would experiment with its so-called "yardstick." 
If the Authority merely wished to establish a basic rate, then 
a prescribed area was sufficient. By such geographical limitation, 
the utility business need not be disrupted by government com- 
petition in other areas. 

With such a contract negotiated he had naively thought there 
would be protection for the operations of his company elsewhere 
in the southern area. But this proved a temporary truce. The 
Public Works Administration at once offered money to cities 
even in this restricted area of the contract on the basis of a thirty 
per cent grant in aid and a seventy per cent loan at four per 
cent without discount. "So," said Willkie, "these cities in the . 
Alabama area began to go pell mell for municipal ownership 
and the PWA began to grant municipal loans." After protesting 
to Lilienthal about this matter, he related that he had received 
a letter dated April 6, 1934, in which Lilienthal said: "I see no 
alternative for me but to consider that our efforts to transfer 
these properties by purchase have encountered a stone wall. 
. . . and that I should do whatever I can to assist these commu- 
nities in carrying their program forward by the alternative 


method of securing funds from the Public Works Administra- 
tion." Dramatically, Willkie then said to the committee, "that 
was the reason I sold Alcorn County at the price I did. It is 
gently clothed but the fist is there." When he realized, he de- 
clared, that the strategy of the Authority was to use public funds 
contributed by the American taxpayer as a means of driving pri- 
vate industry out of a field in which the federal Government 
had chosen to enter as a competitor, he was dismayed. "I say to 
you that I lost more faith in American institutions during that 
period than I gained in the previous period of my life. When 
we are told, Tou sell at this price or federal money will compete 
against you,' industry has no alternative." 

Willkie then pictured the impossibility of competition against 
government monopoly quite aside from the unfavorable eco- 
nomic aspect. There was government propaganda which could 
not be matched. Chattanooga, one of the largest consumers of 
the C&S system, had recently voted for municipal ownership. 
About six months previously, the Emergency Federal Housing 
Administration headquarters had moved to Chattanooga and 
brought with them a large number of employees. Three weeks 
before elections, plans were announced for building the Chick- 
amauga Dam, twelve miles from the city, at a cost o[ about 
$15,000,000! The political influence of such an agency was in- 
calculable. It brought a flurry of business activity to local mar- 
kets and each employee was a salesman for public power. 
Furthermore, he declared, the announcement of a public project 
of this size so close to a small community was an inducement too 
good to be neglected. 

Again there was Knoxville. The TVA Act provided that head- 
quarters should be established at Muscle Shoals. But instead the 
Authority located at Knoxville, three hundred miles away. "Of 
course a municipal-ownership campaign resulted, with the new 
settlers leading the hue and cry," he said. 

He also discussed what he considered was the more question- 
able activity of Director Lilienthal. Speaking in Memphis a 
couple of days before the election, Lilienthal had said, as 
Willkie recalled: "Gentlemen of this community, it is entirely 
up to you; but we only have so much power and it will be given 
to those cities that first apply. After they have voted for inunici- 


pal ownership, they will get that power at these ridiculously low 

Continuing his story Willkie recited the facts concerning the 
Tennessee Electric Power Company, which was the largest sub- 
sidiary of Commwealth and Southern Corporation operating in 
the Tennessee Valley. The company had $99,000,000 worth of 
outstanding securities and all had been approved by the State 
Utility Commission of Tennessee after checking the company's 
books. Yet Lilienthal did not think the company was worth 
much more than $50,000,000 and that was his offer. Of course, 
declared Willkie, if Lilienthal could get the Tennessee Electric 
Power Company at that bargain price, he could reduce his rates 
even lower. At the Lilienthal price only the bondholders would 
receive full value of their investment, the preferred stockholders 
would get $15 a share ($100 par) and the common stockholders 

Such was the strange story that Willkie presented to the Com- 
mittee on Military Affairs concerning the workings of govern- 
ment monopoly. Willkie had made an intense and dramatic 
presentation, but his effort to secure modification of the Amend- 
ment Bill (H.R.6793) failed. A few Congressmen, however, now 
saw more clearly the pattern of the New Deal attack upon 
private enterprise. 

Willkie was so sharp in his repartee and so vigorous in his 
comments that soon the public hearings were crowded with 
spectators whenever the word 'went round the Hill that he was 
to appear. The press, quick to sense the tense appeal in his testi- 
mony, gave him increasing coverage in the news columns. The 
Willkie rebuttal of the New Deal program offered a fine spec- 
tacle of the clash of opinion within the democratic process. Ac- 
cordingly, an ever-increasing segment of public opinion came to 
doubt the wisdom of the government policy of punishing busi- 
ness indiscriminately. Many people wondered what could be 
gained by ruining thousands of honest investors in sound utility 
securities, approved by state regulatory boards, in order to estab- 
lish a federal power system in the same area to provide the same 
facilities. Would any business henceforth be free from such 
bureaucratic interference? Moreover, there were those who 
looked askance at the spectacle in America of an honorable and 


successful young businessman representing an honorable and 
respectable corporation made the whipping boy of industry by 
such an inflamed group of bureaucrats. 

Eagerly Willkie had welcomed the opportunity to testify in 
committee hearings, as they offered him the only opportunity 
to tell his story of public utilities to governmental officials and 
to the American people. For two years after the New Deal came 
to Washington, he had frequently traveled to the capital to 
talk with officeholders from the President down to clerks in the 
various bureaus. On all occasions he received a polite brush-off. 
Yet he clung to the belief that reason would prevail and that 
the men who held the power to destroy an industry would even- 
tually find that the industry was worth preservation. It was 
through these hearings that Willkie began to arouse the people. 
Little did he realize the toughness of the assignment he had 
assumed in rallying the forces of free enterprise against the 
socialism of the New Deal and enlightening the people upon 
the true objectives of a welfare state. 

Sometime after these hearings further light was to be thrown 
on Lilienthal's activities. In one instance, according to the testi- 
mony of Dr. Arthur E. Morgan in a congressional investigation 
in 1947, Lilienthal wrote a letter to Willkie in which he said: 
"Confirming our recent conversation you do not agree to co- 
operate with us except on the basis that you have a monopoly 
of power distribution in all the vast area of the four states in 
which you operate." Taking a copy of this letter to Dr. Morgan, 
then chairman of the TVA, he recommended that the board 
cancel the agreement between TVA and C&S (1934) not to raid 
each other's territory. Dr. Morgan, feeling dubious about such 
an autocratic procedure, called a meeting of the board and asked 
Willkie to attend. When Lilienthal heard of this action he 
immediately telephoned Willkie in New York saying that the 
letter was a mistake and not to come to the board meeting. But 
Willkie surmised something was wrong and went anyway. 

When Morgan asked him at the meeting if the letter of con- 
firmation sent by Lilienthal represented his views, Willkie 
stoutly denied that it did. He even stated that the conversation 
supposedly confirmed in that letter had never taken place. 


Nevertheless, copies of that letter had been sent by the writer 
to President Roosevelt and a number of Senators. 

Willkie's position was, as he stated it: "The Commonwealth 
and Southern will sell to TVA its whole system, or the system 
in any state, or any part of any system in any state. It will sell 
part of it now, and part of it later. The fact that some is bought 
now doesn't prevent other parts being bought later on." In 
short, Willkie was trying to stop the nibbling away of his utility 
properties in the South by the TVA. He was willing to sell at 
all times but wanted either a satisfactory negotiation as to price 
or public condemnation of his property with the Court fixing 
the value. 

Another episode concerned a letter from Lilienthal's office to 
Bessemer, Alabama, which said: "We are estopped from push- 
ing the extension of power while this agreement with the Com- 
monwealth and Southern is on, but we can accomplish the same 
purpose in another way. If you will write us and ask us ques- 
tions and ask us for help, we can't refuse those requests. And 
so long as the initiative comes from you, then we can get the 
same results without formally violating that agreement/' 

It was some time before Willkie was to understand the 
unusual combination of starry-eyed reformers who clustered 
around the White House, and who were contemptuously re- 
ferred to as the "Palace Guards." How could any outsider 
understand the imponderable barricade of ideas which kept 
Roosevelt a prisoner of his own fancy? These men exploited the 
President's imagination for new ventures and excited his natu- 
ral talent for experimentation, sometimes in dubious under- 
takings. Trusted advisers with understanding and balanced per- 
spective were shunted into the background while a crew of eager 
young men with bright ideas captured the line to the White 
House. It was Raymond Moley, occupying a front seat in the 
Administration circles until the mid-thirties, who first recounted 
the amazing development of the "junta" and described its ex- 
tensive power. 

All the while Willkie was making his frequent trips to Wash- 
ington for committee hearings, he was ignorant of the secret 
powers which were manipulating legislative proposals and 
launching press attacks upon business. He realized, of course. 


that he was not getting anywhere, and he often felt as if he were 
fighting a phantom. By the time Moley made his spectacular 
revelations in After Seven Years (1939) of the power behind the 
throne, Willkie realized from his own experience that he was 
up against an invisible wall of resistance because his opponents 
were constantly shielded by the concealment of their identity. 

In the days of 1932-33, when Roosevelt had not yet wholly 
won the confidence of the American people, Adolph A. Berle 
and Raymond Moley were able to lead him to examine with 
skepticism every plan offered by the reformers. But after 
F.D.R. had gained his popular following and had tasted the 
heady wine of power, he lost, according to those close to him, 
some of his intellectual integrity. Thereafter, the President 
launched into planned economy without proper study. Throw- 
ing scientific scrutiny to the winds, F.D.R. seized one quack 
plan after another. After scuttling the World's Economic Con- 
ference as his enthusiasm for it waned, he adopted in October, 
1933, the Warren monetary theory. This was a scheme to stabi- 
lize the market by linking commodity prices with the price of 
gold. He abandoned this project as a dismal failure three months 
later. There followed, in turn, the devaluation of the dollar, the 
soak-the-rich campaign, the effort to destroy confidence in busi- 
ness leadership, the unbalanced budget, and the attempt to 
purge the Democratic Party. Men like Moley could not abide 
this decline in political honesty. The early group of advisers 
was thus scattered by 1936. 

The transition from the Brain Trust to the New Dealers was 
not a sudden affair. The forging of the new group, according to 
Moley, was chiefly the labor of that clever young lawyer, Tom 
Corcoran, whom Moley himself had welcomed into the Brain 
Trust, and to whom Moley was quite willing to surrender his 
mantle of leadership. Corcoran had come to Washington as a 
protg6 of Felix Frankfurter, after his graduation from the 
Harvard Law School, and began his career as secretary to the 
distinguished Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. From here he 
worked his way up to the Justice Department. But from the 
beginning Corcoran was the liaison between jobs in Washing- 
ton and the promising students of Frankfurter at Harvard Law 


After Roosevelt took office in March, 1933, there were many 
administrative posts to be filled. In his memoirs, Moley relates 
that he suggested a number of competent men in business and 
law who were eager to help the Administration either in or out 
of office. But the President was suspicious of their very success. 
This was not the case with the bright young lawyers recom- 
mended by Frankfurter, who inevitably received the enthusi- 
astic approval of the President. In this way there was a con- 
tinuing influx of the Frankfurter-Corcoran recruits into federal 
agencies. These radical young men who burned with the desire 
for reform became amazingly effective largely because of their 
unity, which was achieved partly by their devotion to F.D.R. 
and the New Deal, and partly by the tactics of Corcoran, who 
acted as their co-ordinator. 

The inner circle of the New Dealers, according to Moley, 
included Robert Jackson, Leon Henderson, and, of course, 
Thomas Corcoran and Benjamin V. Cohen. Corcoran and 
Cohen usually worked together as a team. As special assistants 
to the Attorney-General they helped the Government in sustain- 
ing New Deal legislation that came before the Supreme Court 
for review. 

From this spearhead of leaders, the Frankfurter-Corcoran 
appointees spread into all the major departments of the Govern- 
ment. Corcoran made it a point to place not less than two of 
the faithful in the same office so that they might take fire from 
one another. There were a large number of Corcoran employees 
in the Labor Department, in the Treasury, the Department of 
Justice, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Securities 
and Exchange Commission, the Public Works Administration 
and the Works Progress Administration. 

The New Dealers, Moley said, were connected with the White 
House through Harry L. Hopkins, who was the close personal 
friend of the President and who had once been a social worker. 
He had been appointed in 1933 Federal Administrator of Relief 
and in 1935 he was made head of the WPA. One of the first of 
the President's intimate advisers to recognize the merits of 
Corcoran, Hopkins soon came to rely upon the young lawyer 
both for errands and advice. Ickes was Secretary of the Interior, 
a frustrated reformer, Director of the PWA, but more impor- 


tant, chairman of the National Power Policy Committee. Cohen 
was associate general counsel of PWA and later general counsel 
to the National Power Policy Committee. This not only put 
both Hopkins and Ickes in a position to disperse large sums of 
federal money but it also brought Corcoran and Cohen into 
close association with each of them. Furthermore, Lilienthal 
was a member of the National Power Policy Committee. 

This invincible network of government men, all in sympathy 
with the same ideas concerning the wickedness of the American 
economic system, had an able ally in James Lawrence Fly, gen- 
eral counsel of TVA. He was another of the Frankfurter boys 
and he worked closely with Lilienthal, Corcoran, Cohen, 
Hopkins and Ickes. 

It was recorded that the philosophy of these New Dealers 
possessed a unique homogeneity. Part of it came from the class- 
room of Professor Frankfurter, who in turn received it from the 
distinguished jurist, Louis D. Brandeis. The appointment of 
Brandeis to the Supreme Court in 1916 had created a famous 
controversy in the Senate and throughout the nation. Father of 
the concept of the "Curse of Bigness" in American industry, 
Brandeis lacked the vision to see that only through mass pro- 
duction could the standard of living continue to rise. However, 
Brandeis was as much opposed to Big Government as he was to 
Big Business. 

It was at this point that the New Dealers broke with the 
Brandeis philosophy. They ardently believed in a large and 
continuous flow of government spending. In fact they regarded 
anti-monopoly and government spending as interdependent. 
Raymond Moley recalled a conversation in which Corcoran 
seemed to believe money ought to be "shoveled out." In fact 
the best way might be to scatter it from airplanes. But the Presi- 
dent expressed it more smoothly: An indispensable factor in 
prosperity was government investment great enough to lift the 
national income to a point which would make tax receipts cover 
the new national level of expenditure. 

The well-integrated group, therefore, believed in a planned 
economy with the Government regulating society for the bene- 
fit of the people. They sought legislation which would discour- 
age the bigness of business, redistribute wealth, and enlarge the 


control of Government over the economic life of the nation. 
This was the political background of TVA. 

Willkie was fighting these tentacles of hidden power without 
knowing what they were. Many times he visited the White 
House to see the President with plans for some kind of a com- 
promise, and would receive encouragement, but never were 
there any consequent "follow-throughs." There was nothing in 
the open with which he could come to grips. He felt baffled. 
The only channel available to him was the committee hearings, 
but behind these hearings was a blank space which he could 
not penetrate. 

Yet the intricate web of concealed authority continued to 
tighten its hold upon New Deal policies. Its greatest strength 
was the secrecy in which it formulated policy. Willkie was to 
find his difficulties increasing as other attacks upon business 
were translated into bills by this powerful clique within the 

The next major-assault upon the public utilities by the palace 
guard was to strike a severe blow at Commonwealth and South- 
ern Corporation and arouse to higher pitch the fighting instincts 
of the Indiana boy who had risen to leadership on Wall Street. 


The Death Sentence 

WILLKIE REFERRED to the thirties as the "Decade of De- 
lusion" because of the bright young men in the federal govern- 
ment who essayed to reform the country but created chaos. 
The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (S. 2796) 
was one of the bills drafted by the eager reformers at the direc- 
tion of President Roosevelt. This measure differed from the 
TVA Act in that it did not seek to establish government mo- 
nopoly, but rather created an agency for choking the bigness 
out of big utility corporations. Newsmen dubbed the bill the 
"Death Sentence." To Willkie, the measure meant dissolution 
of his mighty company. 

The struggle over the Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 
marked the turning point in the development of the New Deal 
policy. The measure grew out of the deliberations of the Na- 
tional Power Policy Committee, under the direction of Harold 
L. Ickes, appointed by President Roosevelt in the summer 
of 1934. 

The decision to inaugurate a drastic federal regulation of 
public utilities was made by Harold L. Ickes in the second year 
of the Roosevelt Administration. The studies of the National 
Power Policy Committee led him to conclude that the first step 
in federal regulation must begin with the holding companies, 



which had acquired control of the voting stock of hundreds of 
operating companies in many sections of the United States. The 
conclusion was in accord with the personal observations of Ickes 
during the past two decades. As an idealist and reformer he 
abhorred all forms of economic bigness and attempted to smear 
all public utilities with the Insull scandal. 

After his decision to begin his attack upon holding com- 
panies, Ickes chose Benjamin V. Cohen, counsel for the com- 
mittee, to draft the bill. Immediately he sought the assistance 
of his close friend, Thomas Corcoran, who had collaborated 
with him in the drafting of the Securities and Exchange Com- 
mission Act. When the drafting of the Utilities Holding Com- 
pany Bill was completed, however, both Ickes and the National 
Power Policy Committee had lost their enthusiasm for the 

Willkie had accomplished a reversal of the presidential mind. 
Among his colleagues, Willkie was generally looked upon as 
the reform leader of the power industry. He had long advo- 
cated increased production of electric power, lower rates to 
consumers, and continual extension of distributing lines. But 
most of all, he advocated peace between business and Govern- 
ment. Moreover, he had a plan. He had secured from various 
utility executives an agreement to establish the "objective rate" 
which Willkie had tested out so successfully in C&S. (This 
meant a decrease of cost per kilowatt hour according to increased 
amount of power used.) He had proposed to F.D.R. that the 
President might announce this plan and even take full credit 
for it. In exchange, Roosevelt would agree that in areas where 
the new system was in effect, no TVA would be established. 

Accompanied by Philip H. Gadsden, chairman of the Public 
Utility Executives, Willkie went to Washington to see the Presi- 
dent and try to convince him of the mutual advantages of his 
proposal. His old friend, Oswald Ryan, of the Federal Power 
Commission, made the appointment with the President and 
accompanied Willkie and Gadsden to the White House. When 
Willkie was introduced, the President shook hands and said: 
"I am glad to meet you, Mr. Willkie, I am one of your cus- 
tomers." Recalling the fact that C&S supplied Warm Springs 
in Georgia with electric power, Willkie pointed a finger at the 


President, and challenged, "We give you good service, don't 
we?" With this jocular comment the interview was well 

The President, impressed with Willkie and with his plan, 
turned the proposal over to the Federal Power Commission for 
study. This seemed fortunate, as the commission, though taking 
no official action, had advocated regulation but not extinction 
of the holding companies, and had so advised the President. 
The commission was highly favorable to the Willkie proposal. 

But the presidential mind was to reverse itself again. On 
January 22, 1935, an announcement came from the White 
House that there was to be "no quarter with the utilities." The 
facts, unknown to Willkie and his colleagues, were as follows. 
Three weeks earlier, Corcoran and Cohen had been disap- 
pointed to find that Ickes was no longer interested in imposing 
a drastic curb upon public utilities. Determined not to miss this 
unique chance for revolution, they began to needle the Secre- 
tary of the Interior and to prod the members of the committee 
into action. Finally, their eager endeavor brought about a White 
House conference, with Ickes at last giving the measure his full 
support. Pressure was exerted upon the President during his 
visit to Warm Springs. Upon his return to Washington, he 
approved the proposal and made Corcoran and Cohen person- 
ally responsible for the passage of their bill. Another result of 
this momentous session with the Chief Executive was the fact 
that these two young men now found a permanent place in 
White House councils. It was only a few months later that Tom 
Corcoran won the presidential nickname, affectionately con- 
ferred, of "Tommy the Cork." In their preliminary skirmish 
with Willkie, Corcoran and Cohen had enjoyed the advantage 
of deploying their forces within the federal administration 
where they could act without publicity. Hereafter, in directing 
the campaign against public utilities, they sat next the President 
himself in planning the strategy in the bitter controversy. 

Corcoran and Cohen accepted their new commission with 
unbounded zeal. The first step was to persuade Representative 
Sam Raybum and Senator Burton K. Wheeler to substitute this 
newly drafted bill for the identical bills which Raybura and 
Wheeler had already introduced in their respective Houses, 



DURING the frenzy of the French Revolution, when the King 
and Queen were guillotined for conspiracy against the 
liberty of the nation, and a dozen men sitting in the Palace of 
the Tuilleries were sending thousands to their death, a scientist 
was quietly working in a chemical laboratory in Paris. 

This scientist was a marked man. He had given much of his 
energy and wealth to the service of France, but hatreds were 
bitter in those days and he had many enemies. Ygt t while the 
streets of the city were seething with excitement, and his foes 
were planning to destroy him, he stood over his associate, 
Seguin, and slowly dictated notes to his young wife beside him. 

Seguin was seated in a chair in the laboratory. He was 
hermetically enclosed in a varnished silk bag, rendered per- 
fectly air tight except for a slit over his mouth left open for 
breathing. The edges of this hole were carefully cemented 
around his mouth with a mixture of pitch and turpentine* 
Everything emitted by the body of Seguin was to be retained 
in the silken bag except what escaped from his lungs during 
respiration. This respired air was passed into various flasks 
and bottles, finally to be subjected to an accurate and complete 
analysis. Whatever escaped from Seguin's body in the form of 
perspiration or other waste material was to remain sealed in 
the silken covering. 

Lavoisier was investigating the processes of respiration and 
perspiration of the human body. Weighings of Seguin, the silk 
bag, the inhaled air, and the respired air, and determinations 
of the gain in weight of the bag and loss in weight of his asso- 
ciate, were made on the most accurate balances in all France. 
Lavoisier trusted his scales implicitly. But these experiments 
were never to be completed by him. The door of his laboratory 
was pushed open with sudden violence. A pompous leader, 
wearing the liberty cap of the revolutionists, entered the room, 
followed by the soldiers of the Revolutionary Tribunal and an 
uncontrollable mob. 

Marat, member of the National Assembly and self-styled 
Friend of the People, had attacked the scientist in bitter, dan- 
gerous terms: "I denounce to you this master of charla- 



wealth and Southern Corporation had been described by a score 
of economists as one of the best public utility systems in the 
land. Professor James C. Bonbright, in a scathing attack upon 
some of the practices of holding companies in The Holding 
Company, published in 1932, had selected the Commonwealth 
and Southern Corporation as a model system which "offered the 
most practicable solution of the service chargea solution that 
must sooner or later be adopted by all utility systems if they are 
to survive the growing resentment which their recent financial 
practices have aroused in the minds of the thinking public/' 
Commonwealth and Southern Corporation was not itself an 
operating utility, but rather a holding company a billion-dollar 
holding company. Both officers and stockholders were proud 
of the excellent services which it offered to the subsidiary com- 
panies, including the economy of large-scale production, cen- 
tralized purchasing, mobility of the use of labor, more efficient 
engineering and accounting services, and more effective and 
courageous managerial leadership. But above all was the abun- 
dant and cheap financing which the holding company was able 
to furnish to its subsidiaries. For these benefits a fee was charged 
to the operating companies well within the ability of these com- 
panies to pay. 

Critics of the holding companies pointed to the evils of some 
companies in pyramiding various layers of organizations be- 
tween the holding company at the top and the operating com- 
pany at the bottom, each with its separate issues of stocks and 
bonds. This was called "milking" the operating companies. The 
practice of operating scattered companies without regional in- 
tegration or continuity was also condemned. And lastly, experts 
criticized with justification the evils growing out of the lack of 
state regulation of holding companies, although each operating 
company had long come under the strict scrutiny of state and 
federal regulatory commissions. Clearly there was need for fed- 
eral legislation which would regulate holding companies to the 
same extent as operating companies. 

But, instead of regulation, the bill prepared by Corcoran and 
Cohen was nothing less than a death sentence for a valuable 
economic device long sanctioned by law and custom. Section XI 
was considered the heart of the measure. It provided that by 


January 1, 1940, every holding company must dispose of its 
securities and be dissolved unless it could show that its con- 
tinuance was necessary for the operation of a geographically 
integrated system serving an economic district extending into 
two or more contiguous states. The authors of the bill believed 
that this requirement alone was sufficient to destroy the system 
of holding companies. 

Willkie and his colleagues from Commonwealth and South- 
ern Corporation went to the congressional hearings on this hold- 
ing company bill like lambs to the slaughter. They knew the 
technique of legal procedure. But they were without proficiency 
in the Machiavellian tactics of a war of nerves or a battle of 
semantics on Capitol Hill. They were ignorant of the very 
existence of Thomas Corcoran or Benjamin V. Cohen. 

As Willkie began his statement before the Senate committee, 
a C&S official, A. C. Watt, with accustomed nonchalance, sat 
down in one of the side seats among the news reporters. During 
an intermission, one of the newsmen said to him, "I see you 
choose nice company to sit withl" 

"Yes, I like newspapermen/' Watt affably replied. 

"Don't you know you are sitting beside Ben Cohen?" snorted 
the incredulous reporter. 

"Who is he?" naively inquired the financier from Wall Street. 

"He is only the young man who drafted the bill to strangle 
the utilities" was the reply. 

The Corcoran-Cohen team had a three-point method by 
which they successfully directed the hearings on the bill from 
seats on the side lines. They conducted a war of nerves; they 
timed their public blasts against the public utilities with un- 
erring judgment; and they engaged in the use of words with new 
meanings. The war of nerves was conducted by the circulation 
of rumors they artfully originated. The C&S men were first 
told that Roosevelt was really after only a few holding com- 
panies, including the Associated Gas & Electric Company, which 
were considered the "bad boys" of the industry. C&S officials 
were jolted by the information that legislation was to be styled 
to destroy all holding companies, including the reputable ones. 
The associates of Willkie bitterly resented the attempt of the 
government men to bracket C&S with the Associated Gas & 


Electric Company. It had one of the worst reputations in finan- 
cial circles. It was headed by Howard C. Hopson, who had ap- 
proached Willkie to co-operate in a campaign against the new 
bill, but the C&S president had rejected his proposal. Time 
finally caught up with Hopson, and in 1940 he was sent to the 
penitentiary. During the hearings of 1935, the behavior of the 
unscrupulous holding companies lost the utilities many friends 
both in and out of Congress. 

Thus the continual emanation of rumors as to whom "the 
President was going to get next" was a disturbing factor of the 
hearings; no corporation knew quite how to defend itself, or 
what to expect under this barrage of rumors. The good com- 
panies were blamed with the bad ones. 

In this respect another device was used which was both con- 
fusing and exasperating and which owed its origin to the 
intriguing nature of the two planners. Toward the end of a 
week, or before a holiday, C&S officials would be told that they 
would not be called for testimony until the following week. 
The men, eager to get home, would pack up their papers in 
preparation for their return to New York. Then, just as they 
were ready to leave the hotel, a telephone call would announce 
the fact that they would be called to testify within the hour. 
Frantically, they would unpack and try to arrange their papers 
in proper order again, and scramble for a cab to reach the com- 
mittee rooms on Capitol Hill in time to appear for the hearing. 
Harassed and nervous, the C&S officials would not be at their 
best in giving testimony. 

Another trick in this war of nerves was the smear campaign. 
Corcoran was able to induce certain Congressmen and federal 
officials to make bitter addresses attacking prominent industrial 
leaders. The New Dealers furnished these speakers with effec- 
tive phrases for a rousing popular distrust against business 
executives. The "corporate earls" were pictured as throwing 
"corporate tentacles' 1 around American industry and reducing 
it to "aristocratic anarchy." The smear campaign touched 
closely upon the fundamental philosophy of the New Deal. In 
the battle against Bigness in Business a wedge was driven to 


divide the people from business management and to foment 
distrust of executive leadership. If Big Business could be thor- 
oughly discredited in the eyes of the nation, there would be a 
better chance to pass legislation for the redistribution of wealth 
and the more extensive control of Government over the eco- 
nomic life of the nation. 

Senator George W. Norris delighted in referring to the utility 
companies on the floor of the Senate as the "spider-web of Wall 
Street/' Willkie once called on Senator Norris to correct some 
of his errors, but Norris haughtily retorted: "Even if I have 
made a few mistakes, what of it? It is nothing compared to the 
mistakes of the utilities." 

Willkie and his colleagues were also slow in comprehending 
the technique used by Corcoran and Cohen to manipulate pub- 
licity. The trick was to discredit all opposition to the Adminis- 
tration bill both in and out of Congress. Eleven A.M. was the 
deadline in most newspaper offices for the receipt of new stories 
for the evening edition. Watching the clock carefully, Corcoran 
would prompt Wheeler or some other committee member to 
ask a disconcerting question of a utility executive in the witness 
chair. Before the proper rebuttal, often lengthy in character, 
could be made, the newsmen were under necessity to dash to 
the telephones to relay their stories for the evening papers and 
thus missed the replies. In this way, the evening editions would 
carry the damaging question but with no adequate rebuttal, 
the implication being that the utility men had been so confused 
and disconcerted by the apt question that they were unable to 
make answer. By the time the answer was made in the afternoon 
session, the edge was off the news and the reply would be 
printed in one of the back pages of the morning papers. 

Another trick used by the young strategists was to measure 
carefully the publicity space accorded to the hearings. If their 
press releases dropped to the second or third page in the news- 
papers they would have the committee subpoena another "big 
name" in the industry. There was always a good story concern- 
ing the appearance before the committee of any top power 
executive. This acted as the proverbial shot in the arm to give 
a fresh spurt to their propaganda campaign. 


The amazing tactics of the two young bureaucrats did not go 
unnoticed in Congress. On several occasions, there were heated 
accusations against Corcoran and Cohen on the floor of both 
Houses, particularly in regard to their methods in attempting 
to influence the votes of members. A Democratic Congressman 
from Alabama for twenty years, George Huddleston, eloquently 
condemned their lobbying tactics on behalf of the Public Utility 
Holding Companies Act and castigated the pair as a "corrupt 
influence in the halls of Congress/' During the final debate on 
the measure, he said: "Those two brain-trusters, those envoys 
extraordinary, those ambassadors and plenipotentiaries, this 
firm of Cohen and Corcoran, late of New York City, now oper- 
ating in Washington, telling Congress what to do, pointing out 
to members of Congress what their functions and their duties 
are, they drew up this Bill." 

Late in April, 1935, soon after the hearings on the TVA 
amendment, Willkie appeared before the Senate Committee on 
Interstate Commerce to testify against the Public Utility Hold- 
ing Company Bill. The committee chairman was the sharp- 
tongued Burton Wheeler. In opposing the bill, Willkie attacked 
the fundamental assumption of the reformers, namely that 
public utilities had been grossly mismanaged. He admitted that 
there had been some abuses in some utility holding companies, 
but he contended that the electric business as a whole had made 
an excellent record which fully merited public confidence. The 
ethics, honesty and efficiency of the utility industry, he declared, 
was the equal of that in any other American business. In fact, 
he said, he would go even further and hold that the electric 
business was more worthy of confidence by the people than any 
other business enterprise in America. In support of this view 
he cited the steady reduction of electric rates charged to con- 
sumers during the past decade. His own company, he stated, 
had reduced rates every year since it was organized in 1929. 

Obviously, Willkie was proud of the signal success of his lead- 
ership and the high ethical standard of his business relation- 
ships. With modest simplicity, he declared that most business 
executives conducted their enterprise on a high moral plane. 
"I do not put myself on a pedestal, and I do not want to claim 


to be superior to anybody else. There are many companies that 
pursue the same high standards of business practice." 

Under sharp interrogation, Willkie undertook to explain to 
the Senators the intricate organization of the Commonwealth 
and Southern Corporation. It was an organization of six separate 
systems composed of eleven companies. The area of controversy 
with TVA included Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and parts 
of South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida. The operating 
companies of C&S in this area were Tennesse Electric Power 
Company, the Alabama Power Company, the Georgia Power 
Company, the Gulf Power Company, the Mississippi Power 
Company, and the South Carolina Power Company. 

Commonwealth and Southern Corporation was in fact two 
corporations: one was incorporated under the laws of Delaware, 
and the other under the laws of New York. The former was 
strictly a holding company while the New York company was a 
service company. Willkie and the other officials served in the 
same capacity for each company. C&S of Delaware collected no 
fees from its subsidiary companies and it offered no manage- 
ment, no supervisory service of any kind. Its income was derived 
solely from the interest and dividends on securities which it 
owned. These were principally securities of operating com- 
panies forming the Commonwealth and Southern system. In 
fact it owned all the common stock of the subsidiary companies 
except two per cent of the Tennessee Electric Power Company. 
In addition it owned some bonds and preferred stock of certain 
of these same companies. In order to maintain the highly liquid 
position which its needs demanded, the company held govern- 
ment bonds, cash and other liquid assets to the amount of 

C&S of New York was a service company and had a contract 
with each of its subsidiaries to render assistance in such matters 
as accounting, rates, taxation, engineering, merchandising, in- 
spection, insurance, purchasing, and traffic. These various serv- 
ices were rendered as requested by the officials of the company 
receiving them. Monthly bills were sent to the operating com- 
panies for these services on the basis of actual cost plus 1.15 per 
cent of the gross revenue of the operating company. Common- 


wealth and Southern of New York received as further revenue 
a fee of $150,000 a year from CfeS of Delaware to cover officers' 
salaries and certain other expenses. 

The unique feature of this plan which had attracted such 
favorable attention from the economists was that all of the 
capital stock of C&S of New York (90,000 shares) was owned by 
the operating companies in the ratio of the gross earnings of 
each to the gross earnings of all. Any profit, therefore, which 
C&S of New York earned was distributed as dividends among 
the operating companies in proportion to their stock holdings. 

As Willkie frequently told the congressional committees, the 
process was the reverse of the "milking" which many Senators 
had described as the ulterior end of all utility holding com- 
panies. Clearly the achievement of C&S had been to build up its 
operating companies. This, of course, was a long-range self- 
improvement policy, but it was sound financing and sound 
management to the benefit of all concerned. Nevertheless, the 
Committee on Interstate Commerce was suspicious. Senator 
Fred H. Brown, of New Hampshire, called this procedm~e pure 
selfishness. He refused to see any virtue in a policy of good man- 
agement. Irritably, he interrupted Willkie to say: "You cannot 
explain it to me. You have never helped anyone more than the 
Commonwealth and Southern.' 7 

In this atmosphere of bitter antagonism to Big Business re- 
gardless of how well it operated, Willkie essayed to discuss 
profits. He explained that utility companies, far from making 
huge profits, often did not even earn a fair rate of return. Under 
the law of the land, each operating company was entitled to a 
"fair return" on the "fair value" of the properties devoted to 
public service. This general principle had been laid down in 
1898 by the Supreme Court in the famous case of Smyth v. 
Ames. Further, the Supreme Court had held that a fair return 
was six and one-half or seven per cent and in some cases even 
eight per cent. Willkie boldly stated he did not think public 
utilities should be expected to earn less than six and one-half 
per cent because of the rate of obsolescence in equipment. 

Certainly six and one-half per cent was a much smaller profit 
than the average man in the street had been led to believe the 
utilities made. The New Dealers had talked loudly of the 


swollen profits made by the holding companies. But Common- 
wealth and Southern in the South made less than this modest 
figure because of the competition with the government project, 
the Tennessee Valley Authority. In the South, Willkie stated, 
his companies earned a profit of about four per cent. The 
sardonic chairman quipped: "If we quit the TVA, you would 
raise your rates, would you not?" This Willkie indignantly 
denied. He stated that every one of the C&S companies had re- 
duced rates each year for the past ten years. Moreover, he 
pointed out that the power industry had been under the closest 
scrutiny for the past six years by the Federal Trade Commission. 
It had been combed completely and there had not been one 
scintilla of evidence produced to show that the creation of a 
holding company led to increased rates. 

In further reply to the insinuations of Wheeler, Willkie 
denied that the TVA had forced the C&S companies in the 
South to lower their rates. The Alabama and Georgia com- 
panies, he declared, had cut rates every year before TVA as 
well as after. Furthermore, the companies in the North operated 
on even lower rates although with larger profits. Willkie also 
denied the New Deal contention that TVA had limited its sale 
of power to the demand for additional power in the South which 
the private companies were unable to supply. He pointed to 
the statement of David Lilienthal himself who declared on 
November 10, 1933, at Atlanta, Georgia, before any government 
installation had been made, that private companies in the Valley 
had the generating and transmission facilities to care for thirty 
per cent to forty per cent more power than demand required. 
This astounding announcement, Willkie explained, was a tacit 
admission that the Government was not only entering into 
competition with private companies but even was setting up a 
duplicate system. 

Willkie exploded still another current falsehood. Govern- 
ment and TVA officials had widely publicized their view that 
the influence of the TVA legislation had not affected adversely 
the market value of utility securities. The Commonwealth and 
Southern executive now presented to the Senate committee two 
charts to show the damage of the Government's abrupt attack 
on utilities in the South. The first chart showed that the decline 


of industrials and utility stocks proceeded at about the same 
rate from 1929 to 1932. But, in 1933, industrial stocks began 
to rise, while utilities continued to drift lower. The second 
chart told a still more dramatic story. It showed that the securi- 
ties of the holding companies declined because those of the 
operating companies declined. Yet the operating companies 
actually showed more recovery in business operations than any 
other major industry in the United States. 

Carefully Willkie traced the fall of industrials, railroads and 
utilities. During the depression all of them moved down to- 
gether, and all started the up-swing together. Then in 1933, came 
the government attack upon utilities. When the TVA Bill was 
assured of passing, the securities of those utility companies 
which had previously held up began to sag and finally bonds fell 
to the low point of twenty-four dollars. But when Judge W. I. 
Grubb, of the United States District Court of Northern Ala- 
bama, held that TVA had exceeded its power., the bonds made 
an immediate recovery and advanced up into the 90's. 

To prove his point further, Willkie cited another illustration. 
From the passage of the TVA Bill until January 4, 1934, when 
Commonwealth and Southern made a contract with TVA to 
transmit government power, stocks of all operating companies 
in the southern area declined. But from the date of the contract, 
C8cS preferred stock which was selling around twenty dollars 
per share doubled within two weeks. All of this showed, Willkie 
concluded, that the people had confidence in the management 
of the company, but feared the attacks of Government on 

The atmosphere of the hearings of the Senate Committee on 
Interstate Commerce on S.I 725 had for the most part been 
unfriendly. The chairman, Senator Wheeler, was clearly an- 
tagonistic to all representatives of Big Business. He assumed 
that there was something inherently wicked in mere bigness, 
something dark and unfathomable in large market operations. 
His hostility toward Willkie marked every step of the hearings 
and received unfavorable comment from the Washington news- 
men who are ever alert to detect unscrupulous tactics of con- 
gressional investigations. The ill-temper of the chairman left 
Willkie undaunted. He was not intimated from speaking in 


glowing terms of the pioneer days of public utilities and of the 
men who had dared to enter a new field, risking all they had 
and all they could borrow from friends and relatives. On one 
occasion, Willkie spoke with admiration of W. P. Lay, of Ala- 
bama, a man who had a dream of water power. Willkie called 
him an idealist. At this point, Wheeler interrupted with biting 
sarcasm: "You started out that way, too, didn't you, as an 
idealist?" Unruffled by the sneer, Willkie replied, "And I hope 
I still am, Mr. Chairman, I still have my western views!" 


Wings Over the 
Supreme Court 

DAZED BY their encounter with the national law-makers, 
Wendell Willkie and his colleagues now turned to the courts 
of justice. Although, on many occasions, Willkie had offered to 
sell to the federal Government the electric power plants with 
which governmental enterprise had entered into competition, 
his proposals were neither accepted nor rejected. By 1935, how- 
ever, it was apparent to Willkie that the Administration ex- 
pected to outbid the Share-the- Wealth propaganda of Huey 
Long with the Soak-the-Rich tax scheme of Tom Corcoran. The 
battle against monopoly, he surmised, was to be directed against 
bigness in business in every phase of the American scene. Un- 
certainty over the future of such solvent properties as the Ten- 
nessee Electric Power Company now induced Willkie to test 
the constitutionality of the legislation providing for the Ten- 
nessee Valley Authority and to test the authority of the federal 
Government to make gifts and loans to cities and villages with 
which to duplicate the existing power distribution systems. 

Willkie was confident that his appeal to the courts would be 
successful and a vindication of honest business enterprise. His 



legal education as well as his wide reading in history had led 
him to look upon the Supreme Court as the bulwark of the 
American heritage. In his law studies at Indiana University, the 
treatise on Constitutional Limitations by Judge Cooley had 
been a constant guide. This learned jurist had written ex- 
haustively on the development of constitutional restrictions 
placed on government. The paternal theory of government had 
always been rejected in American constitutional theory. In the 
words of Mr. Justice Brewer, the Fathers of the Constitution of 
1787 had intended to give "the utmost possible liberty to the 
individual, and the fullest protection to him and his property." 

Willkie was aware that the Supreme Court harbored enemies 
of American Big Business, but he had little apprehension that 
hostility to free enterprise was an active influence in the Court. 
Mr. Justice Louis D. Brandeis was chiefly known for his Curse 
of Bigness. Not even Woodrow Wilson, to whom Brandeis owed 
his appointment to the Court, had wholly accepted his thesis 
that the concentration of economic wealth and the growth of 
corporations was the "result of unwise, man-made, privilege- 
creating law." 

Willkie was disdainful of the Curse of Bigness doctrine on 
the ground that it misrepresented the triumphs of American 
industry in mass production. The full development of Ameri- 
can resources required bigness in free enterprise. The record 
showed that large manufacturing units reduced the cost of pro- 
duction and lowered the price for consumers. All of this had 
resulted from the legal right of farseeing businessmen to apply 
their executive genius to the production of wealth which in 
turn benefited the workers, the consumers, the managers and 
the bondholders and stockholders of the corporation. Big Busi- 
ness was as American as were the public schools, the two-party 
system, the Bill of Rights or the Fourth of July. 

Since the turn of the century it had been generally conceded 
that public utilities, being in the nature of a monopoly, were 
subject to governmental regulation. How far should this regu- 
lation extend? In 1898, the Supreme Court, in the case of 
Smyth v. Ames, had held that regulation of rates by state com- 
missions must not go so far as to deprive public utilities a fair 
return on the investment. The Brandeis repudiation of the 


doctrine of the "fair return" formula, which he had presented 
as a minority opinion in the Southwestern Bell Telephone case 
in 1923, struck at the very heart of the free enterprise system. 

During the first three years of the New Deal, the Supreme 
Court included five "conservative" and four "liberal" justices. 
Thus, it was inevitable that the Court should invalidate some 
important New Deal legislation. In fact, several Administration 
measures went far beyond the horizon of the most "liberal" 
members of the Court, This fact was suddenly demonstrated in 
May, 1935, when in one day the Supreme Court ended the Blue 
Eagle (the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933), invali- 
dated a congressional act for the relief of farm debtors which 
had deprived creditors of all effective remedy, and finally re- 
pudiated the President's unwarranted use of the removal power. 

If the Supreme Court voided New Deal legislation, the social 
revolution was doomed. At a press conference early in 1937, the 
President made an angry attack on the Court declaring that the 
decisions threw the country back to the "horse and buggy days." 
Shortly thereafter he laid before Congress a measure to pack die 
Supreme Court with appointees of his own selection. The "Nine 
Old Men" would thus be outvoted in all cases involving the 
constitutionality of New Deal legislation. 

The broad and imaginative mind of Chief Justice Hughes 
recognizing the device of compromise, even in the solemn busi- 
ness of interpreting the fundamental law, assumed that the pres- 
tige of the Supreme Court could be saved by a dose of; judicial 
co-operation* In a surprisingly short time, indeed in April, 1937, 
a "liberal" majority of the Court rendered the decision in the 
Jones and Laughlin case which upheld the National Labor Re- 
lations Act of 1935, and started the Court on a new road of 
interpretation that supported almost every measure of the New 
Deal. As a cynical commentator observed, "a switch in time 
saved nine." 

The litigation of the public utilities seeking to protect the 
rights of the stockholders and bondholders was caught in the 
swing of the Supreme Court from the right to the left. Willkie 
had decided that the legal battle of the Commonwealth and 
Southern Corporation against the New Deal should begin on 
behalf of the small stockholder. Thus, the CfcS espoused the suit 


terrific explosion. Rushing to the ruins Lavoisier found several 
mutilated bodies. He had missed death by moments. The ex- 
periments, nevertheless, were continued. 

Although condemned as a "damned aristocrat," Lavoisier 
was by no means blind to the poverty and suffering of the 
lower classes. In spite of his being a staunch royalist, he urged 
reforms simply on humanitarian principles. He believed that 
in these reforms lay France's political salvation. Investigating 
conditions among the French farmers, he reported to the 
comptroller-general that "the unfortunate farmer groaned in 
his thatched cottage for lack of both representation and de- 
fenders." He realized they were being neglected, and tried to 
improve their economic status. At Frchine, Lavoisier estab- 
lished a model farm, and taught improved methods of soil 
cultivation and other aspects of scientific farming. During a 
famine in 1788, he advanced his own money to buy barley 
for the towns of Blois and Romorantin. To avoid a recurrence 
of such suffering, he proposed a system of government life 
insurance for the poor. Blois remembered this act of kindness, 
and in December of that year sent him as its representative 
to the States General. Lavoisier, the humanitarian, also made 
a tour of inspection of the various prisons in Paris, and ex- 
pressed his utter disgust at France's method of treating her 
criminals. The dungeons were foul, filthy, and damp he 
recommended an immediate fumigation of all these pest-holes 
with hydrogen chloride gas, and the introduction of sanitation. 

Today the undying fame of Lavoisier rests not upon these 
fleeting social palliatives but upon the secure foundation of 
his explanation of burning, and the simplified chemical 
nomenclature we have inherited from him. Armed with these 
new weapons, men were equipped to storm other bulwarks o 
chemical obstruction. 




IN MAY, 1834, there came to London from the city of Man- 
chester, a tall, gaunt, awkward man of sixty-six years. He 
was dressed in Quaker costume; knee breeches, gray stockings, 
buckled shoes, white neckcloth, gold-topped walking stick. His 
friends had raised a subscription of two thousand pounds for 
a portrait statue of this world-famous natural philosopher. He 
had come to sit to Sir Francis Chantrey, the court sculptor, 
who was to mold his head in clay, and then model a life-sized 
statue to be placed in the hall of the Manchester Royal Insti- 
tution. The clay model of the head of the venerable seer was 
soon completed. As Chantrey sat chatting with him, he care- 
fully scrutinized his head, which looked so much like the head 
of Newton. He noticed that the ears of the philosopher were 
not both alike, while the model showed the two ears to be 
the same. In a moment the sculptor leaped to his feet, cut 
off the left ear o the bust, and proceeded to fashion another 
one. The old schoolmaster-scientist was amused. How absurdly 
careful was this Chantreyl 

Honors came pouring in on this scientist. The French Acad- 
emy of Sciences elected him a corresponding member. He was 
made a Fellow of the Royal Society of England, and President 
of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester. And 
now his friends wished to present him to the King, who, years 
before, had given a gold medal to be awarded to him for his 
great scientific contributions. Henry Brougham, the Lord 
Chancellor, offered to present him to His Majesty. But this 
could not be arranged without breaking the rules of the Court. 
John Dalton was a Quaker who still respected the tenets of 
his religion, even though forty years before, loving certain 
favorite airs, he had dared ask permission of the Society of 
Friends to use music under certain limitations. A Quaker could 
not wear court dress because this included the carrying of a 
sword. A way was soon found out of the difficulty. The Uni- 
versity of Oxford had recently conferred upon him an honor- 
ary degree. He could be properly introduced to the King in 
the scarlet robes of a Doctor of Laws. The old philosopher 
agreed. The part was carefully rehearsed. "But what of these 



Although the Willkie stockholders won the first round of the 
legal battle, the victory was destined to be short-lived. On appeal 
the case was taken to the United States Circuit Court which 
reversed the decision of Judge Grubb, and the case then went 
to the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari. Before this tribunal, 
the cause of the stockholders was brilliantly argued. Although 
Willkie had directed the legal strategy, he wisely left the court- 
room pleading to an able Birmingham lawyer, Forney Johnston, 
and a distinguished constitutional jurist, James M. Beck. The 
case was contested by Solicitor-General Stanley F. Reed (later 
to be elevated to the Supreme Court) and Attorney-General 
Cummings, assisted by a large number of attorneys from the 
Department of Justice. 

On February 17, 1936, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, 
ruling against the stockholders, reduced the issues before the 
Court to only two: one was the constitutional authority for the 
construction of Wilson Dam, and the other was the constitu- 
tionality of the distribution by the Government of electric 
energy generated at the dam. The Court held that the dam and 
the power plant connected with it had been installed for pur- 
poses of national defense and the improvement of navigation. 
As to the second question, the Court held that the United States 
acquired full title to the dam site with all riparian rights includ- 
ing the power generated therefrom. Under the Constitution the 
Government was expressly granted the authority to dispose of 
property legally acquired. Hence the Government possessed the 
authority to sell this power to consumers. Mr. Justice Brandeis 
contented himself with a concurring opinion replete with evi- 
dence of his hatred of Big Business, denying that the stock- 
holders had standing in the Court. 

To Willkie's mind the first part of the opinion of the Chief 
Justice ignored the express purpose of the suit, which was to 
determine the legality of governmental engagement in the 
power industry for profit. Counsel for the stockholders had 
shown that TVA was not merely a national project for defense 
and navigation, but that it was equally a project for the manu- 
facture of power to sell to consumers. On the second count, 
Willkie also considered the Court astonishingly evasive. The 
stockholders had asked the Court: Did the Government have 


the authority to use public funds to compete with private busi- 
ness in the sale of a commodity? The question was important. 
It deserved an answer. But the Court dodged the issue, by a 
ruling: "The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of 
legislation in a friendly, nonadversary proceeding, declining 
because to decide such questions is legitimate only in the last 
resort, and as a necessity in the determination of real, earnest 
and vital controversy between individuals. It was never thought 
that by means of a friendly suit, a party beaten in the legislature 
could transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the constitutionality 
of the legislative act." 

Mr. Justice McReynolds made the only dissent from the de- 
cision of the Court. Citing the annual reports of the Tennessee 
Valley Authority, he asserted that the record left no room for 
reasonable doubt that the primary purpose of the Tennessee 
Valley Authority Act was to put the federal Government into 
the business of distributing and selling electric power through- 
out a large district, to expel the power companies which had 
long serviced these areas, and to control the market therein. 
This government instrumentality, he declared, had entered 
upon a pretentious scheme to provide a "yardstick" to deter- 
mine the fairness of rates charged by private owners, and to 
attain "no less a goal than the electrification of America." In 
other words, the TVA plan as conceived and executed contem- 
plated exclusive control over all power sites on the Tennessee 
River and tributaries. Concluding his dissenting opinion, Mr. 
Justice McReynolds made a profoundly prophetic remark: "If 
under their mask of disposing of property the United States 
can enter the business of generating, transmitting and selling 
power as, when and wherever some board may specify, witJi the 
definite design to accomplish ends wholly beyond the sphere 
marked out by the Constitution, an easy way had been found 
for breaking down the limitations heretofore supposed to guar- 
antee protection against aggression." 

Having fought first under the standard of the small stock- 
holder, and lost, Willkie and his associates in the C&S deter- 
mined to give battle a second time under the banner of the 
operating companies. Accordingly, Willkie advised the nineteen 
operating utilities in the Tennessee Valley to file suit to contest 


the constitutionality of the TVA. On May 29, 1936, therefore, 
the Tennessee Electric Power Company, with a number of other 
utilities in the area, brought suit in equity against the Ten- 
nessee Valley Authority to enjoin further construction of dams 
in the Valley. The operating companies which now appealed 
to the courts served more than a million customers in the Ten- 
nessee Valley and represented a billion dollars of capital owned 
by security holders all over the country. This capital investment 
paid fifteen million dollars a year in taxes to the state and 
federal governments. 

After the filing of this suit, Willkie made routine business 
trips through the South. In an interview in Chattanooga on 
June 14, he expressed the hope that "the TVA would meet 
frankly and without legal technicalities the issues raised in the 
suit instigated recently by companies in the Valley in order to 
test the constitutionality of the act creating the TVA." Again, 
he declared: "With the filing of the law suit by the nineteen 
operating companies in this area to test the constitutionality of 
the act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority, there is 
afforded an excellent opportunity for the TVA to come into 
court and meet frankly the issues between the TVA and private 
utilities. If they will but do this, and not attempt to narrow the 
issues or escape on legal technicalities, the public will be able 
to learn the fallacy of their many claims." 

There was little likelihood, however, that the directors of the 
Tennessee Valley Authority would meet the issue in the manner 
suggested. The control of TVA was already falling into the 
hands of an ambitious officeholder whom Willkie considered as 
a ruthless autocrat. David E. Lilienthal, according to the testi- 
mony of Dr. Arthur E. Morgan, was even at this time engaged 
in intrigues to succeed him as chairman of TVA. Indeed, 
Lilienthal, so addicted to maneuvers, would have little interest 
in assisting the courts to examine the real merits of the con- 

Although the Tennessee Electric Power Company and its 
eighteen associates had originally filed suit in Chancery Court 
of Knox County in Tennessee, the directors of TVA removed 
the case to the United States District Court for Eastern Ten- 
nessee. A court of three judges was convened, which after a trial, 


on January 24, 1938, denied the injunction and dismissed the 
suit. Thereupon, fourteen of the complaining companies, on 
the advice of Willkie, appealed the decision. It was not until 
1939 that the Supreme Court gave its opinion. 

In the meanwhile, Willkie and his associates suffered stinging 
defeats in several other cases before the courts. One of these 
setbacks was the case of the Alabama Power Company v. Ickes. 
The Alabama Power Company, a subsidiary of C&S, had filed 
suit against Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes as director 
of the Public Works Administration. The Alabama Power Com- 
pany, as the holder of a non-exclusive franchise to operate elec- 
tric distribution systems in several municipalities, sought to 
enjoin the loan and grant of federal money to municipalities 
for the construction of competing systems, alleging that the 
statute authorizing federal officials to take this action was in- 
valid. Dismissal of the suit in the lower court was affirmed by 
the Supreme Court on the ground that the complainant had 
no standing as a taxpayer to question the expenditure of the 
federal funds. Furthermore, the complainant had no standing 
to question the lawful use of money by the Government even 
though it would result in competition with complainant's busi- 
ness. In fact, the complainant had no standing whatsoever in 
the Court. 

As to the question of competition, the Court ruled that the 
director of PWA had made no attempt to regulate rates or even 
to foster municipal ownership of utilities. The PWA projects, 
moreover, were merely a part of the national program to relieve 
unemployment. The Alabama Power Company had only a non- 
exclusive franchise; so that anyone could compete with it who 
also secured a franchise. Hence the existing franchise of the 
Alabama Power Company could not be considered to exclude 
municipal competition even if subsidized from public funds. 

To Willkie, the decision of the Supreme Court appeared as a 
denial of justice to honest businessmen. The Harvard Law 
Review commented that the Court did not provide a definitive 
answer to the real issue of the case, inasmuch as the Court in- 
sisted on viewing the question of loans and grants as completely 
separate from the question of competition. The legal question 
was whether or not Congress had authority to appropriate funds 


for creating public enterprises to compete with private business 
enterprises. This was the issue that the bureaucrats wished 
above all else to avoid. The growing "liberal" wing of the 
Supreme Court lent itself to the bureaucratic view. 

A fourth important suit of the utilities in this long battle 
with the Government was the Electric Bond and Share Com- 
pany v. Securities and Exchange Commission. Although Willkie 
was not the initiator of this suit, C&S intervened with a cross 
bill. The Electric Bond and Share Company, joined by fourteen 
associated utility companies, refused to register with the Securi- 
ties and Exchange Commission before December 1, 1935, as 
provided by law, in order to test the constitutionality of the 
Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. The SEC, there- 
fore, brought suit for injunction against these companies from 
using the mails or the facilities of interstate commerce. The 
Commonwealth and Southern Corporation then filed a cross 
bill praying for a declaratory judgment asking that the Act of 
1935 be held void as being in excess of the power granted to 
Congress under Article I of the Constitution, and of the Fifth 
and Tenth Amendments, and that a permanent injunction be 
issued restraining John J . Morris, as United States Attorney for 
the District of Delaware, from attempting to compel compliance 
with the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. 

Nevertheless, the District Court sustained the validity of the 
Act and granted the injunction sought by SEC. The Court fur- 
ther held that the registration provisions were not inherently 
inseparable from the other provisions of the Act. Accordingly, 
the cross bill was dismissed for want of equity. 

The case was finally argued before the Supreme Court in 
1937 with a conspicuous array of legal talent. Four able lawyers 
appeared on the brief for the petitioners. The Government was 
represented by Attorney-General Cummings, Assistant Attor- 
ney-General Jackson, and other federal attorneys, including 
Benjamin V. Cohen and Thomas C. Corcoran. Mr. Chief Justice 
Hughes gave the majority opinion of the Court. Only Mr. Jus- 
tice McReynolds dissented, while Justices Cardozo and Reed 
took no part. 

The Supreme Court in 1938 sustained the lower court, which 
also meant that the bill of complaint filed by C&S was dismissed. 


The Chief Justice brushed aside the argument that the intent 
of Congress had been to control public utility holding com- 
panies even to the point of their destruction. However, as soon 
as the Supreme Court rendered its decision in the case of Electric 
Bond and Share Company, the utility companies promptly filed 
with the SEC their notification of registration and the necessary 
documents pertaining thereto as required by law. 

The lingering hope of Wendell Willkie for relief by the 
Supreme Court was ended on January 30, 1939, with the long- 
awaited final decision in the case of the Tennessee Electric 
Power Company v. Tennessee Valley Authority. It was a five- 
to-two decision. Counsel for the utility companies had again 
argued that the TVA Act had been a bold attempt, in the guise 
of exercising implied powers of the Constitution to improve 
streams for navigation, to exercise the further authority to man- 
ufacture a commodity and market it in direct competition with 
established business enterprise. 

The majority opinion was read by Mr. Justice Roberts. Once 
more the majority of the Court evaded the real constitutional 
issue. The Court held that the Tennessee Electric Power Com- 
pany and associated companies were without legal standing to 
challenge the validity of the TVA project. More than this, the 
Court rejected the claim of the power companies that their 
property was being destroyed by governmental competition. 
"The vice of the position/* said Justice Roberts, "is that 
neither their charters nor their local franchises involve the 
grant of a monopoly or render competition illegal." The ma- 
jority opinion agreed with the judgment of the District Court 
to the effect that the Tennessee Valley Authority was not guilty 
of coercion, duress, fraud, or misrepresentation in procuring 
contracts with municipalities, and that the Authority had not 
acted with any malicious motive. 

The dissenting opinion in the case of the Tennessee Electric 
Power Company v. Tennessee Valley Authority has been quoted 
earlier in this chapter. It was written by Mr. Justice Butler and 
concurred in by Mr. Justice McReynolds. In clear and sharp 
words, the dissenting justices stated that the real purpose of 
TVA was obviously to authorize a large and indeterminate num- 


her of great works for the primary end of creating a vast supply 
of electric power. Any references in the TVA Act to navigation, 
they said, were mere pretense in order to achieve a federal 
object which, under the Constitution, had been reserved ex- 
clusively for the states. With the exception of the power gener- 
ated at Wilson Dam, they stated that "the Act creates an outlet 
for power deliberately produced as a commercial enterprise to 
be sold in unlawful and destructive competition." The dissent- 
ing justices further stated that the rates of the Authority ex- 
cluded the cost of the major part of the investment expenses and 
hence were "unreasonable and confiscatory as a measure of 
rates." Finally, the minority opinion accepted the validity of 
the charge that the directors of TVA harbored a policy to break 
the utilities in the Valley, and for this purpose the Authority 
had lobbied for bills in various state legislatures in order to 
provide municipal competition with the existing power lines. 

Keen was the disappointment of Wendell Willkie and indeed 
of the entire business world over the failure of the Supreme 
Court to pass directly upon the constitutional question of the 
use of governmental funds to promote competition with private 
enterprise, and upon the legal question of governmental distri- 
bution of public power. It was the second occasion upon which 
the Court had avoided consideration of the real issue involved 
in the litigation. In the opinion of the Southern California 
Law Review, January, 1940, this decision, as well as the ruling 
of the Court in the Ashwander case, left open the question of 
the extent to which an agency of the Federal Government might 
enter into competition with private enterprise. Editorially, the 
New York Times commented that the decision was of such ex- 
tensive import that the Federal Government was now free, if 
it chose, to compete with private enterprise in almost any field 
of business, even on terms that were obviously unfair to business. 

Edwin F. Albertsworth, professor of constitutional law at 
Northwestern University, had said as early as 1935 that if the 
Supreme Court should sanction the policies of the New Deal 
as permanent and constitutional ventures of Government, then 
the American people would see the beginning of the end of 
private enterprise in this country and the inauguration of state 


and federal socialism. While perhaps this view was too gloomy, 
Willkie finally recognized that the New Deal had brought the 
American people face to face with absolute power. 

A decade later, Roscoe Pound, Dean of the Harvard Law 
School and founder of the American school of sociological 
jurisprudence, described the legal procedure of the New Deal 
as follows: "For a generation the courts have leaned over back- 
wards in an effort to facilitate the administration of social legis- 
lation. With the multiplication of the governmental agencies, 
the increasing subjection of every form of activity to administra- 
tive regulation and hostility of administrative agencies to all 
attempts to impose effective legal checks upon them, we have 
been coming in practice to a condition of what may well be 
called administrative absolutism/' Another distinguished jurist, 
Walter F. Dodd, declared that the New Deal Supreme Court in 
ten years had removed substantially all previous restrictions on 
the powers granted to the national Government by the Con- 

Willkie was loath to abandon faith in the Supreme Court. 
But conclusive evidence had been given of the Court's abandon- 
ment of the doctrine of free enterprise for the welfare state. 
The revolution had carried not only the presidency and Con- 
gress but even the highest tribunal. In these days of dark un- 
certainty, Willkie frequently declared: "If it's my baby that's 
hurt now, it may be your baby later. Our business simply hap- 
pens to be the first target. But I have frequently said and I still 
maintain that you can take any business, and, in ex parte. pro- 
ceedings, with the backing of the senatorial committee, so 
picture it as to create public sentiment against it." Willkie 
sincerely believed that if the American people knew the facts 
they would not approve this gigantic change in governmental 
philosophy. He had appealed to Congress and lost. He had 
taken his cause to the courts and lost. Now he determined to 
appeal to the people. 

Within several months of the TVA decision, therefore, 
Willkie wrote a devastating article entitled, "The Court Is Now 
His," which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, March 9, 
1940. In pungent words he described the attempt of the Chief 
Executive, in the spring of 1937, to secure the passage through 


Congress of a Court Bill which would enable him to appoint an 
additional member to the Bench for every federal judge who 
did not retire at the age of seventy, provided that such appoint- 
ments did not increase the membership of the Supreme Court 
to more than fifteen justices or increase the entire federal judici- 
ary to more than fifty justices. The Court Bill was defeated. 

Nevertheless, in the end, as Willkie explained, the President 
gained through a freak of fate what Congress had denied him 
by law. Deaths and retirements among the "Nine Old Men" 
had brought him victory. In rapid succession, he was able to 
name five justices to the high judiciary, including Hugo Black, 
Stanley Reed, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, and 
Frank Murphy. The Court was his! Instead of being the only 
President never privileged to nominate a member of the Court, 
as he had complained, he suddenly became the Chief Executive 
to appoint the most judges. And Willkie further pointed out 
that while only one justice was required to erase the five-four 
conservative complexion of the Court, the President had been 
able to appoint a clear majority on the Bench. 

With brilliant logic, Willkie analyzed the significance of the 
change in the Supreme Court in relation to law, politics and 
business. The law as practised in the United States had been 
progressively built by the decision of cases which established a 
system of precedents. Over the generations, therefore, the Su- 
preme Court had constructed its great body of constitutional 
interpretation. It had permitted an expansion of the powers 
necessary for the federal Government to fulfill its defined pur- 
poses and it preserved to the states the powers proper to their 
jurisdiction. These precedents of constitutional law, he de- 
clared, furnished many limitations on the powers of Congress 
which were effectively recognized by the Supreme Court prior 
to 1937. Today, "by a series of sweeping decisions," said Willkie, 
"the Court has not only annulled many of the precedents of 
four or five years ago, but it has uprooted and overturned some 
of the oldest guideposts of our constitutional law." In one sit- 
ting, on January 29, 1940, he said, the Court had over-ruled 
three previous decisions each one as recent as the year 1935. 

While Willkie was quick to recognize that changing times 
might necessitate a new interpretation of the Constitution, he 


held it nothing less than revolutionary that a series of reversals 
of decisions were made in so brief a time on so important a sub- 
ject as Government and Business. Since 1935, Willkie explained, 
the American people had received a number of major opinions 
from the Supreme Court which substantially changed their 
form of Government. He said: "I do not mean to say that even 
a Supreme Court precedent is sacrosanct. It is quite conceivable 
that from the point of view of one age the opinion of another 
is wrong. Or that a misguided interpretation made by one group 
of judges who are, after all only human beings might have 
been too readily accepted as infallible by successive groups of 
judges. In such cases, reinterpretation, however late, is to be 
welcomed. But when a series of reinterpretations overturning 
well-argued precedents are made in a brief time by a newly 
appointed group of judges, all tending to indicate the same 
basic disagreement with the established conception of govern- 
ment, the thoughtful observer can only conclude that some- 
thing revolutionary is going on. And that is what has happened 

Willkie's article was one of the first attacks upon the strange 
upheaval of the Court and its sudden reversal of a number of 
decisions. This break with precedence was not only disconcert- 
ing to businessmen, he explained, but it jeopardized the rights 
of Little Business as well as Big Business. He emphasized that 
basic principles of constitutional interpretation should not be 
changed in accordance with the clamor of the hour. The pur- 
pose of law was not only to regulate. It was also, and perhaps 
chiefly, to stabilize. Thus the persistent and wholly unpredict- 
able changes in substantive law were demoralizing to the entire 
political and economic system. Much of the responsibility for 
the current unemployment and national debt, Willkie charged, 
was due to the revolutionary interpretations of the Court. If 
the situation continued it would be fatal to the economic life 
of the country. Wealth goes into hiding when capitalists be- 
come frightened, and, when capital is lacking, the employee is 
in danger of losing his position. And when production lags the 
consumer is ultimately faced with high prices. 

Willkie ended his cogent article with the lively prediction: 
"From the point of view of the social philosopher, the under- 


lying significance of the present Administration, as embodied 
in the present Supreme Court, is to be found in the creation of 
a vast, ineffectual, expensive, central authority. . . . The Ameri- 
can public, on the other hand, has not yet tested all the whims, 
vagaries and caprices of a securely enthroned central govern- 
ment reaching into the daily lives of all the people. And the 
social philosopher may well speculate what that public's reac- 
tion will be when the tests have been made. If the present public 
is anything like its ancestors, I wager that when it does under- 
stand, it will mightily rebel/' 

The final defeat of the utilities in the case of the Tennessee 
Electric Power Company (1939) made Willkie all the more 
eager to sell this property to his privileged competitor, the 
Tennessee Valley Authority. Furthermore, a somewhat con- 
ciliatory attitude had become apparent on the part of the TVA 
directors, partly due to the influence of Harry Hopkins, who 
became Secretary of Commerce in 1938. Willkie now pressed 
TVA to purchase the Tennessee Power Company. He had of- 
fered to sell many times during the six long years of bitter strife 
with the TVA but Lilienthal had always set a price too low. 
Willkie had, therefore, maintained that he doubted if the 
Authority really wanted to buy his properties anyway and that 
he would never be convinced until he saw the money on the 

Negotiations at last proved fruitful, and on August 15, 1939, 
Willkie finally saw the money on the barrelhead. The price that 
Willkie won for C&S by the sale of its prize operating unit, the 
Tennessee Electric Power Company, was some $78,000,000, 
part of which was paid by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and 
the balance by some thirty-five municipalities and co-operative 
companies. Although this sum was nearly thirty million dollars 
more 'than Lilienthal had once said he would pay for the com- 
pany, it was a disappointment to many of the executives of 
G&S. Cobb, for one, felt that Willkie sold at too low a price, too 
low by some fifty millions. The selling price covered only the 
bondholders and the holders of preferred stocks. 

As customary with Wall Street, the end of the negotiations 
for the sale of a large property was celebrated in a formal cere- 
mony. On the occasion of the sale of the Tennessee Electric 


Power Company, the formality was held in an assembly room 
of the First National Bank of the City of New York at 2 Wall 
Street. Two hundred and fifty persons witnessed the ceremony, 
including the Governor of Tennessee, officials of TVA, mayors 
of municipalities, executives of the utility companies, newsmen 
and photographers. 

Willkie presided as chairman of the meeting. The occasion 
was perfect for his superb talents as a showman. He completely 
dominated the scene. As one eyewitness described it, the cere- 
mony became a "one-man victory over the competitive inroads 
of the federal Government into the electric power business." 
Although virtually forced to sell a profitable corporation, 
Willkie had dramatized for the whole country the necessity for 
American business to question the objectives of the New Deal. 
His success in securing the additional purchase price became 
known on Wall Street as "Willkie's $30,000,000 shriek." As if 
overawed by the financial center of the world, Lilienthal was 
ill at ease, uncomfortable and sullen. The climax came when 
Lilienthal handed Willkie the certified check of the United 
States Government in the amount of $44,728,300. The director 
of TVA had nothing gracious to say. Willkie, good-naturedly, 
relieved the tension by replying: "Thanks, Dave. This is a lot 
of money for a couple of Indiana boys to be kicking around. For 
this I give you the deeds of the Tennessee Electric Power 

With the conclusion of the legal transaction, Willkie made 
a formal statement to the press. "The Tennessee Electric Power 
Company was started thirty-five years ago by a Chattanooga 
engineer who refused to believe that the Tennessee River could 
not be dammed. Since then thousands of employees and many 
thousands of investors from different states have participated in 
the remarkable development of this project. It has never re- 
ceived any gifts from the United States Treasury or from the 
PWA or from municipalities. On the contrary, it has made sub- 
stantial tax payments to the federal and local governments, 
amounting to over $25,000,000 in the last ten years. From now 
on this business is in the hands of government agencies. Another 
business is removed from the tax rolls. While this sale does not 
represent the true value of this investment, at least we have 


received enough to make full payment to the owners of the 
bonds and preferred stocks. The common stockholders, princi- 
pally the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation, are taking 
all the loss. But the loss of these properties will not be in vain 
if it serves to arouse the American people against government 
invasion of this business. 

"In looking to the future, I plead with the Government for 
two principles, both of which are essential if the system of free 
economic enterprise is to be preserved. I ask first, as I have 
asked many times before, that the Government discontinue its 
competition with private business outside the Tennessee Val- 
ley. It now has its 'yardstick' area. It should be content with that, 
so in other areas of this nation the utility industry may make 
its vital contribution to American business recovery. Second, 
I ask that these government agencies should keep their books 
on a completely honest basis, so as not to mislead the American 
people from whom these commissions get their power." 

Willkie now hoped for peace, but there was no peace. Com- 
monwealth and Southern Corporation had sacrificed its prize 
operating company in the South the Tennessee Electric Power 
Companyto the Authority. In consummating this deal Willkie 
believed that he had won protection for the other five southern 
companies of C&S. He gambled that Lilienthal would be con- 
tent to follow a reasonable course with the remaining power 
companies, or else that an awakened public opinion would 
force the federal Government into a reasonable course. Two 
days after Lilienthal took title to the star utility of the South, 
Willkie signed a contract with TVA under which the Authority 
agreed to deliver at the switch between six and ten million kilo- 
watt hours of energy weekly to the Alabama Power Company. 
Similar contracts were made between TVA and the other south- 
ern companies. Alabama Power Company adopted a program 
calling for the expenditure of $1,000,000 in 1940 on the con- 
struction of rural lines. Willkie believed that as soon as the in- 
vestment market realized the extent of stabilization resulting 
from these agreements between TVA and his companies, he 
would be able to refinance their securities. 

There was no peace. Willkie had underestimated the bureau- 
cratic ambitions of Lilienthal and overestimated the promptness 


with which public opinion would rally to the defense of Amer- 
ican business. The New Deal operations were militant to the 
end. On November 18, David Lilienthal made a public address 
at Lafayette, Alabama, bitterly attacking the Alabama Power 
Company, and urging rural co-operatives to build competing 
power lines. Charging that the company maintained a policy 
of antagonism and obstruction toward co-operative rural elec- 
trification, he expressed a hope for an end to "this dog-in-the- 
manger policy of fighting farm co-operatives/' The day after 
Lilienthal's assault upon the Alabama Power Company, Willkie 
warned that the speech had jeopardized the plans of the Ala- 
bama Power Company to spend a million dollars on the con- 
struction of rural electrification. There could be no peace be- 
cause free enterprise was built upon one economic pattern while 
the TVA and Government spending rested upon a totally dif- 
ferent concept, the welfare state. 

As the years passed, enthusiasm for the power experiment in 
the Tennessee Valley declined. The advantages of flood control 
and the creation of power for national defense were obvious, 
particularly during the Second World War. The stimulation of 
the experiment to community life in the Tennessee Valley was 
.undeniable. But there were other features about TVA that were 
not so desirable. While the merits of the experiment were now 
almost universally admitted, the defects had become too con- 
spicuous for even the Democratic Party to ignore. 

In 1946, the General Accounting Office made a report to 
Congress which included the first audit of TVA other than 
audits made by its own staff. All previous audits, under an 
astonishingly loose practice, had been "inside" audits. The new 
report of the Comptroller-General revealed the fact that the 
Authority had drawn money from the public treasury each year 
of its existence and had made no repayment of these amounts. 
Furthermore, of the total sum of $718,000,000 of government 
money invested in TVA, more than one half of it, $400,000,000, 
had been spent on power facilities rather than control of floods. 
This colossal expenditure of federal funds had been devoted to 
the direct benefit of only 3.8 per cent of the population of the 

The report of the Comptroller-General aroused sharp criti- 


in his laboratory. "I succeed in doing chemical experiments," 
he told them, "taking three or four times the usual time, and 
I am no longer quick in calculating." 

Two years later he was still making weather observations. 
He made entries in his notebook of the readings of his barom- 
eter and thermometer for the morning of Friday, July 26, 1844. 
The figures were written in a weak, trembling hand. Over the 
entry "little rain" was a huge blot he could not hold his pen 
firmly. This was his last entry. The next morning Dalton was 
dead, having passed away "without a struggle or a groan, and 
imperceptibly, as an infant sinks into sleep." Forty thousand 
people caine to witness his funeral procession. 

Dumas, the French savant, called theories "the crutches of 
science, to be thrown away at the proper time." Dalton lived 
to see his theories still held tenaciously by the natural phi- 
losophers of the world. For, "without it, chemistry would have 
continued to consist of a mass of heterogeneous observations 
and recipes for performing experiments, or for manufacturing 
metals." Dalton's Atomic Theory remains today one of the 
pillars of the edifice of chemistry a monument to the genius 
of the modest Quaker of Manchester. 



the skilled adept could make sense out of the maze 
of strange pictures and symbols which filled the writings 
of early chemistry. The alchemists had couched their ideas in 
an obscure sign language. Perhaps it did not require omni- 
science to understand that a group of dots arranged in a heap 
represented sand. Maybe the connoiseur of wine knew that this 

symbol ^ meant alcohol. But who could guess that- 
meant borax, and \f stood for soap, while glass was desig- 
nated by two spheres joined by a bar? Clay, to be sure, must be 
, and this strange sign Ctj meant sea salt. Could 

mean anything but a day, and its inverted image a night? And 
what of the many other strange markings which filled many a 
manuscript of ancient alchemy, and even found their way into 
current literature? 

The foundations of chemistry were now more or less com- 
pleted. Phlogiston had been slain, and Lavoisier's theory of 
burning was safely established. De Morveau's new chemical 
nomenclature had been accepted, and Dal ton had promulgated 
his atomic theory, which clearly explained two cornerstones 
of the structure of chemistry the Laws of Constant Composi- 
tion and Multiple Proportions. 

But the bog of astrological and occult signs had to be cleared 
before an enduring edifice of chemistry could safely be raised. 
The muddle of arbitrary signs had to be destroyed and a more 
reasonable system substituted for it. The wild belief in alchemy 
had been scotched, but the serpent still lived, for its symbols 
still wriggled and twisted over the pages of chemical writings. 
No amateur could, venture alone through its labyrinthine 
jungles. In one Italian manuscript of the early seventeenth 
century by Antonio Neri, the metal mercury was represented 
by no less than twenty symbols and thirty-five different namesi 



ence was equivalent to a good-sized public works program. To 
express the effect of the Death Sentence on the public in dif- 
ferent terms, said Friedman, there was a decline in the rate of 
growth of private generating capacity from an annual average 
of 5,700,000 kilowatts in the period 1920-33 to 1,600,000 kilo- 
watts in the period of 1934-38. 

The individual investor suffered severely by the Corcoran- 
Cohen campaign of hate against bigness. Eighty per cent of the 
investors in utilities owned less than 100 shares. After the Su- 
preme Court upheld the Act, in 1938, the giant holding com- 
panies began to divest themselves of 521 subsidiaries having 
assets of $9,425,000,000. The threat of disintegration again re- 
duced stock prices of utilities. Two million small stockholders 
were punished for the sins of a few speculators. Furthermore, 
the Act brought few benefits to the consumer. Residential rates 
had been reduced more rapidly before the passage of the Act 
than after. The holding companies had performed a service in 
the lowering of operating costs which was passed on to the 

Willkie had pled with Congressmen in the various committee 
hearings to refrain from the abolition of holding companies. 
Regulate them, yes, but let them live because they serve a defi- 
nite purpose in expert management, and in obtaining needed 
capital at lowest rates. Too late, even his enemies began to see 
that he was right. Senator Norris, on the floor of the Senate, 
on May 1, 1942, acknowledged that he had changed his views 
somewhat about utilities. The post-war world demanded a free 
and healthy utility industry, which would employ demobilized 
soldiers, and continue to produce steady power at ever lower 
costs, and increasing supply. 

In 1939, Willkie could not even guess that the following 
decade would vindicate most of his views. Defeated by the 
Congress, rejected by the Supreme Court, Willkie turned to 
public opinion in an attempt to acquaint the voters with what 
was happening under the New Deal to individualism and free 


The Appeal to Public 

WILLKIE'S DRAMATIC pleas for justice had failed to im 
press the Democratic majority in the congressional Committee 
on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. His argument had ever 
failed to find vigorous Republican support on the floor of eithei 
the Senate or the House. The measures which crippled Ameri 
can business had been passed with astonishing speed, againsi 
surprisingly weak opposition. Indeed, there was no competeni 
defender of free enterprise among the leaders of either party 
Willkie at last recognized that while he believed in one 
theory of government, the Roosevelt Administration was com 
mitted to another. The rules of government had been quietly 
changed by the men of the New Deal. The American people 
Willkie felt, did not understand the drastic alterations whicl 
were taking place both in the theory and the form of theii 
Government. Few knew even the names of such men as Frank 
furter, Brandeis, Corcoran and Cohen, much less the significance 
of the influence which they exerted on Government. Willki< 
believed that the majority of hard-working and hard-thinking 
Americans would not approve these subtle changes. 



Disillusioned and frustrated by the sense of unfairness that he 
had met in Congress, Willkie resolved to take a direct appeal 
to the people of America, to acquaint them with the facts of 
the New Deal. He was convinced that the American people pos- 
sessed the intelligence to distinguish between the freedom of 
free enterprise and the spurious "freedom from want" blithely 
promised by the New Deal. The hearings had given him a pub- 
lic reputation. By late 1935, business organizations in all fields 
of enterprise had begun to call upon him for addresses on 
Government and Business. Bond clubs, economic clubs, cham- 
bers of commerce and radio stations sought him. As his speeches 
began to have increasing news value because of his fearless 
attacks upon the New Deal, editors and publishers beseeched 
him for articles. A utility executive was winning a national 
audience. This businessman who had, like thousands of other 
Americans, risen from the bottom of the heap, was winning 
public attention. Voters who had been mesmerized by the charm 
and oratory of Franklin D. Roosevelt listened to Willkie and 
pondered. People who had been sore bereft in 1932 as a result 
of the economic debacle and who had been wonderstruck by 
the smooth promises of the Fireside Chats and the semantics of 
the Brain Trust now heard the other side of the story. Blind 
fear had driven many of them to a ready acceptance of the 
Rooseveltian revolution without much understanding of it. 
But the economic truths expounded by Willkie provoked a 
critical appraisal of the entire program. 

His career as a publicist began with a speech at a joint meet- 
ing of the Economic Club of New York and the Harvard Busi- 
ness School on January 21, 1935. He faced a distinguished 
audience. James P. Warburg, president of the Bank of Man- 
hattan, presided, and James B. Conant, president of Harvard 
University, was the guest of honor. The industrial and financial 
elite of the great metropolis were present to hear Willkie deliver 
an eloquent and impassioned speech on "Government and Pub- 
lic Utilities." At the end of his talk these distinguished men 
rose to their feet as one man in a cheering ovation which lasted 
some five minutes. Willkie suddenly became the man of the 
hour. Other addresses followed in rapid succession. Not before 
had there appeared such an attractive defense of American busi- 


ness nor such a devastating attack upon the New Deal. He be- 
came the recognized but unofficial spokesman against Roose- 
veltian policies. 

Willkie attacked as a fallacy the theory of government spokes- 
men to the effect that all businessmen were "economic royalists" 
or "outmoded plutocrats of power." The people, he said, still 
had every reason to place their confidence in the business 
leaders of the country. Of course there had been men who had 
proved to be a discredit to business just as there had been men 
who were a discredit to religion or politics. But no sane person 
would lash at the church or condemn all ministers for the moral 
dereliction of a few. No one would condemn all government 
officials because dishonesty was sometimes found in high places, 
even in the cabinet and the legislature; and certainly few would 
advocate the abolition of Congress every time it passed an un- 
wise law! 

Again and again in various addresses Willkie stressed the 
significant gains in the American economy. This country paid 
the highest wages and possessed the highest standards of living. 
The costs of production and distribution had been continually 
reduced, which made for lower prices of commodity goods. As 
a result, good living had been, spread to more than two- thirds of 
the people in the land. In all the statistical records it was shown 
that the American people enjoyed the highest standard of living 
of any people on the globe. All of this had been accomplished 
by the skill, the vision, and the daring of American business 
leaders who took full advantage of America's great natural 

He frankly recognized that in the lush years of the twenties 
certain abuses arose which led to wild speculation and manipu- 
lation of the stock market. Those abuses had to be curbed. But, 
Willkie added: "If the politicians had been content with that, 
if they had been content with safe regulation designed not to 
cripple all industry, but to correct malpractices, this country, 
in my judgment, by now would have surmounted most of its 
economic difficulties." 

Willkie charged the politicians with shouting about abuses 
long since corrected and with lashing business leaders of Amer- 
ica with an "undiscriminating whip." One of the most ridicu- 


lous of all accusations made against businessmen was that they 
had deliberately destroyed the prosperity of the country, de- 
stroyed the very house that they had built. The depression, he 
declared, was the result of the maladjustments resulting from 
the World War. The war itself had not been started by busi- 
nessmen but rather by politicians. He laughed at the myth of 
the businessman conjured up by some politicians as a fat, white- 
vested individual with a top hat, sitting in a mahogany office 
inherited from his father, exercising some mysterious power 
over his fellow men. He recalled that his colleagues were for the 
most part men who started to work at wages less than the cur- 
rent relief payments to the unemployed. They had become 
business leaders because they worked hard enough and intelli- 
gently enough to rise to positions of responsibility and trust. 
Not only were they simple, sincere and ardently patriotic men, 
but also they were the most constructive force in America. 

Willkie attacked the New Deal philosophy that profits were 
wrong. The politicians had continuously stressed social welfare. 
They ridiculed the desire for profits. He declared with some 
sarcasm that the dictionary signified profit as a desirable condi- 
tion. The word meant any accession or increase of goods from 
the exertion of labor, comprehending the acquisition of any- 
thing valuable, intellectual or corporeal, temporal or spiritual. 
Profit had for ages been the hope of youth and the reward of 
age. It was the mainspring of all economic activity of mankind, 
and the dynamic force behind the progress of civilization. 

Willkie attacked the politicians who loudly lamented the 
passing of the frontier and who so often repeated the comment 
that "gone were those incomparable opportunities of free land 
in the West/' The great days of America are not yet done, he 
said. Only the borders of achievement have been touched. The 
frontiers of scientific exploration are unlimited and will bring 
millions of new jobs to workers and a higher standard of living 
to all. These frontiers of industry, he said, offer adventure and 
profit to the intellectually qualified beyond anything imagined 
by the pioneers of the nineteenth century struggling on a west- 
ern homestead. The American economy has not yet fulfilled its 
destiny, he told the people. American leadership in mass pro- 
duction had been due to a simple faith in America. There was 


no reason to doubt that this faith would continue to create 
miracles. He called his creed the "faith that is America." 

He attacked the economics of the clique who believed that 
the capitalistic system had dried up. This view had been suc- 
cinctly expressed by Henry A. Wallace, then Secretary of Agri- 
culture, at a speech in Atlantic City, February 28, 1935, who 
said: "The capitalism of the past will not endure indefinitely. 
Its emphasis on the individual, the survival of the fittest, and 
the free play of competitive forces is proving definitely destruc- 
tive. Opportunities of the past are gone, and it is a mistake 
to educate children as if such opportunities were still there. 

"The corporation of the past will not long endure. All stock- 
holders are becoming increasingly interested only in dividends. 
If the choice were given them whether to improve working 
conditions or increase dividends, the chances are they would 
vote for the latter. Capitalism must collapse unless something 
is done to bring the individual under control. Capitalism, com- 
munism, and fascism are all of a piece materialistic and god- 
less. Perhaps instead of emphasizing liberty, rights and freedom, 
we should teach increasingly security, duty and responsibility 
the things that hold people together rather than those that push 
them apart." 

Willkie challenged this undue emphasis upon security at the 
sacrifice of the economic system as a shift in American philoso- 
phy which had rested from the days of the Founding Fathers 
upon the principle of freedom of opportunity. 

Willkie pointed to the glorious accomplishment of free men 
which had produced a country possessing six per cent of the 
world's area, seven per cent of the world's population, but more 
than forty-five per cent of the world's wealth, with a standard 
of living almost double that of European countries. Americans 
had the highest wages, the shortest working hours, and the 
greatest percentage of home ownership on earth. All this had 
been accomplished because men in America were encouraged 
to take risks and to receive profits. He charged that business 
had become spiritless under the cudgeling of the New Deal. 
Willkie ascribed this melancholia in a naturally spirited people 
to the restrictive legislation passed by the New Deal Congress. 
This had discouraged the use of private capital for the develop- 


merit of industry and thereby prevented the investment of 

Willkie attacked the fallacy of the New Deal propaganda 
that businessmen had wilfully refused to co-operate with Gov- 
ernment for the return of prosperity. Business was stymied 
because of the New Fear which gripped all business executives. 
Referring to the President's inaugural address in which he had 
said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," Willkie de- 
scribed the new fear which had paralyzed all business. The 
President had asked for the co-operation of business leaders. 
The executives had gladly given him that co-operation, only 
to meet indifference, contempt and neglect. 

The utility president explained his own efforts at co-operation 
and the snub they had received. The attack upon the utilities 
had been so severe in 1933 and 1934 that he had offered a plan 
for regulation to eliminate all the alleged abuses. In addition, 
the plan proposed that utilities would spend for capital con- 
struction a minimum in the years of 1935 and 1936 of twice 
their anticipated requirements. It was estimated that this initia- 
tive would create in the first year a minimum of three and one 
half billion dollars of business. This was a sum equivalent to 
the entire national relief appropriation for the year 1935. A 
further advantage of the offer was that this large sum was private 
capital and hence did not come out of taxes or public funds. 
Such an expansion would have employed thousands of people 
directly and indirectly. It would have created great steel orders 
and a demand for* freight cars. It would have administered an 
electric shock to business all along the line. No direct reply 
came from the Administration for his preferred co-operation. 
But the indirect answer was unmistakable. It was the Death 

Likewise Willkie related that he had offered several alterna- 
tive plans of co-operation between business and the Tennessee 
Valley Authority. The whole TVA program with its vast ex- 
penditures of public money had subsidized the electric rates of 
a few hundred thousand people in a particular section of the 
country. This had greatly threatened the financial stability of 
all utility companies in the area. So he offered to buy all of 
TVA power at the switch and pass it on to the consumer at a 


saving in rates. He offered the correction of all alleged abuses 
in the utilities in the area and a guarantee to reduce even TVA 
rates by more than 25 per cent if given the same gifts from the 
federal Treasury as the TVA. But if this suggestion was unac- 
ceptable, he then offered to sell out all of his properties in the 
Valley if the properties were condemned outright and left for 
the courts to fix an equitable price for them. No direct reply 
to these offers ever was made. But again the retaliation was 
unmistakable. It was an amendment to the TVA Act in 1935 
to give greater power to the Authority so as to enable it to con- 
struct power houses, transmission lines, and to generate at all 
dams the maximum amount of power. Thereupon, Willkie 
concluded that the politicians were more interested in testing 
out untried reforms than in the economic recovery of the Amer- 
ican industrial system. 

Not only were such offers of co-operation rejected, he de- 
clared, but also all efforts to amend these restrictive measures 
so as to make them workable were met with punitive hostility. 
Every week for two years drastic and defamatory statements 
regarding public utilities and their holding companies had 
emanated from government officials in Washington. The coun- 
try had been fairly saturated with the tale of supposed abuses 
committed by utilities. Every business executive knew that if 
he criticized a government commission today, he and his com- 
pany would suffer for it tomorrow. Reprisals were the coercive 
whip used by the New Dealers. In all these public speeches, 
therefore, Willkie emphasized the fact that it was not the lack 
of co-operation on the part of business leaders with Govern- 
ment that had deepened and continued the years of depression. 
Rather it was the renewed attacks upon business instigated by 
the New Deal promoters and the campaign of personal abuse 
against individuals entrusted with the operation of corporate 
enterprise. All this had produced a lack of confidence in busi- 
nessmen which acted as a restraint upon expansion of industry. 
In addition to the drastic legislation that had crippled business, 
there had been the constant threat of regimentation. In a radio 
address, he pleaded that government co-operation should re- 
place government hostility: "Public abuse and punishment 
have failed to produce re-employment and economic rehabili- 


tation. Isn't the elimination of the misery of the bread lines of 
greater importance to us than the attempted accomplishment 
of untried reforms?" 

Willkie attacked the fallacy that the capitalistic system lacked 
inherent resilience for its own recovery. He charged that the 
Government was gradually taking over the functions of private 
enterprise. This conquest of business was being accomplished 
in three ways, all closely related to one another, namely by 
restrictive regulation of business, government competition, and 
unwise government spending. In 1929, the year before the de- 
pression, the excess reserves in Federal Reserve member banks 
averaged about $43,000,000. On April 26, 1939, the excess re- 
serves reached an all-time height of $4,120,000,000, or about 
one hundred times the average amount of reserves of 1929, 
which had been the peak of prosperity. In other words, the 
greatest accumulation of reserves in our history was available 
to be used as a basis for credit expansion. But instead of being 
used by industry for normal expansion, it lay idle in the banks 
of the country. This was not the fault of tie banks, for they 
have always been eager to put their deposits to work to earn 
yearly interest. Likewise, the investor wanted an income from 
his money. Was industry to blame? Emphatically no. Willkie 
cited the Brookings Institution's estimates of 1936 that between 
twenty-five and thirty billions of dollars would be needed for 
durable goods industries alone in order to make up the accumu- 
lated deficiencies because of postponed repairs and replace- 
ments. For the period since 1936, Willkie estimated, an addi- 
tional fifteen billion dollars were needed for the construction 
of buildings and the manufacture of durable goods, including 
factory machinery and railroad equipment. At least forty billion 
dollars was needed by industry for immediate use. 

If industry should begin to draw upon reserves in this fashion 
it would create employment directly for some three million 
men in operating plants and equipment, and for an additional 
six million men in service industries. Business could rapidly 
employ nine million men if given a chance by Government to 
rehabilitate itself. Willkie suggested that the possibility of em- 
ploying nine million men out of the eleven million still walking 
the streets after six years of paralyzing experimentation was 


worthy of note by the Roosevelt Administration. Nothing was 
inherently wrong with the capitalistic system, he emphasized, 
except the danger of Big Government. Fear of this danger had 
almost paralyzed private enterprise. 

It is capital that has made the free enterprise system operate, 
Willkie maintained. If capital from the great reservoir of sav- 
ings into the channels of industry was stopped, then the whole 
democratic system as well as the free economic system would 
vanish in the chaos of national bankruptcy. A conspicuous 
phenomenon of American economy had been its ability to 
create capital rapidly. He emphasized that an economy cannot 
be called over-mature, or dried up, when it has the vitality to 
continue to create enormous amounts of capital. 

Willkie attacked the fallacy that a nation could * 'spend its 
way to prosperity" as the New Dealers often claimed. The colos- 
sal expenditures of "priming the pump" were balanced by a 
colossal program to pay for it. This tax program had been a 
throttle to the free enterprise system, he explained, because it 
sterilized capital. Two evils resulted from government effort to 
spend its way into prosperity. One was the unbalanced national 
budget, and the other was the expulsion of private capital from 
industry. By 1939, the fiscal deficit amounted to twenty-seven 
billion dollars, with an estimated additional four billion dollar 
deficit for that year. These deficits meant higher taxes for the 
taxpayer for generations to come. 

Willkie considered government spending as the most danger- 
ous of the trio of governmental vices; business strangulation, 
government competition, and spending. It was more corrupting 
than over-regulation; it was more exhausting than direct gov- 
ernment competition. Government spending, in order to pro- 
mote employment, generally led to direct competition with 
business, and thus it was doubly vicious. All these evils had 
scared private investments into hiding. More than this, un- 
bridled government spending had saddled the nation with an 
enormous public debt. There was a great difference between 
public debt and private debt. Public debt was created by the 
Government and not by the people who paid it. On the other 
hand, private debt was voluntarily created by individuals who 
expected to pay it off. Again, the New Deal public debt had 


been created primarily for non-productive purposes such as 
relief payments, unemployment insurance, military expendi- 
tures and public works projects. But the private commercial 
debt was incurred for purposes of industrial production, chiefly 
for production of durable goods. Thus during each year of de- 
pression, private debts had declined while the public debt 
increased. Furthermore, government property does not pay a 
tax. Hence, taxes on private property must be correspondingly 
increased. The TVA was an example. The Authority purchased 
all the properties of the Tennessee Electric Power Company 
with funds supplied by the Government, for which the tax- 
payers would have to pay a yearly interest rate on the borrowed 
cash. But, at the same time, the state and municipalities of 
Tennessee lost millions in taxes which could only be recovered 
by increasing the taxes on all citizens and all industries within 
the area. Thus government spending meant higher taxes, and 
higher taxes were a restraint upon the private investment of 

Willkie attacked the Government's tax policy further. The 
foolish spending of the New Deal had forced the taxing of new 
sources. It was not so much the severity of taxes that was dan- 
gerous to industrial production as it was the kind of tax im- 
posed. There should be no tax on "venture capital," This is 
the money invested in common stock of new businesses and in 
which the investor took a risk on the success of the enterprise. 
It was the kind of capital that business must have; and it was 
the kind of capital which creates most of the new jobs. The 
personal income tax was a proper source of revenue, he be- 
lieved, so long as the rates were not so high as to drive capital 
into tax-exempt securities. But far more to be criticized than 
an inordinately heavy income tax, according to Willkie, was 
the capital-gains tax and the undistributed corporate profit tax. 
The latter tax imposed a penalty on any corporation that built 
a new plant out of its earnings, inasmuch as the law required 
the corporation to pay a tax on all profits not distributed in 
dividends. In much the same category was the corporation in- 
come tax. All of this taxation, he explained, which dried up 
capital and thus prevented industrial expansion, constituted a 
fallacious tax system. And even worse, to his mind, was the pro- 


posal of the New Deal to use national taxation as a part of the 
social project to destroy private enterprise in the interest of 
the planned state. 

Willkie also tried to make the people understand how impos- 
sible it was for business to operate under constantly changing 
rules. Wherever a new law was passed by Congress regulating 
industry, a commission was created to enforce its provisions, 
whose policies fluctuated as its personnel changed. Where there 
had been a score of these boards and commissions before the 
New Deal, there were now three score, he pointed out. The 
dictionary was exhausted for new names of new federal agencies. 
There was the Federal Housing Administration, the Securities 
and Exchange Commission, the Works Progress Administration, 
the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, the 
Commodity Credit Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, the 
Social Security Board, the Federal Communications Commis- 
sion, the Rural Electrification Administration, the Federal 
Home Loan Bank Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the 
Oil Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Administra- 
tion, the National Labor Relations Board, and many more. All 
these boards and commissions possessed rule-making powers. 
It was extremely difficult for business to operate successfully 
under a commission form of government which might change 
its standards as it willed and dispense its favors in accordance 
with the economic or social predilictions of the members of 
the board. "Any poker player," Willkie said, "regardless of how 
skillful he may be, will get out of the game just as soon as some- 
body starts changing the rules." Some gifted officers in the Ad- 
ministration recognized the tragic defects of bureaucratic gov- 
ernment then existing in Washington, but many rationalized 
the matter by saying the answer was in appointing "good men" 
to the commission. But this, said Willkie, was reminiscent of 
the theory that dictatorship is not bad so long as the dictator is 
himself a good man. 

Willkie attacked the theory of a planned economy. He pointed 
out to the people that fixing wages and taxing payrolls had 
increased the costs of employment. That in turn reduced the 
number of employed. Unfortunately, when wage increases were 
arbitrarily set by law, they hurt the American laborer instead 


of helping him. Wages are paid out of what industry receives for 
its output. They are high if industry has confidence and ample 
capital, and if there is an active market for its products. But if 
wages are artificially raised beyond the level that industry could 
meet out of its current operations, then a drop in employment 
ensues. With deftness Willkie pointed out the error in the New 
Deal thesis that wage increases were automatically desirable 
because they always increased the laborer's purchasing power. 

He used as an example the National Recovery Administra- 
tion as the startling experiment of a planned economy with 
arbitrary methods of fixing hours and wages. From March to 
July, 1933, the period just preceding the NRA, industrial pro- 
duction had increased sixty-nine per cent. But under the NRA, 
hours were shortened and wages arbitrarily raised. Labor costs 
jumped, and there was a drop in industrial production of 
twenty-five per cent from July to December. Further, because 
of the minimum-wage provisions of the lumber codes, some 
500,000 Negro workers in the South were on relief in 1934. To 
Willkie, the economic disturbances in Puerto Rico as a result 
of the minimum-wage standard there of twenty-five cents an 
hour was significant. Although this was admittedly an absurdly 
low scale by American standards, living costs in Puerto Rico 
were correspondingly low. The result of the new law was that 
100,000 persons lost their jobs in the needlework industry 
alone. In Puerto Rico, as in the United States, whenever wages 
were fixed by fiat, a real danger threatened to destroy the jobs 
of the wage earners. 

Likewise, he told his audience that a too rigid fixation of 
hours was dangerous to employment. Hours in American indus- 
try had been steadily reduced without legislation, with the 
result that the forty-hour week was now common. But in France, 
the forty-hour week was established by law in 1937 and resulted 
in widespread disruptions. One industry after another had to 
be exempted from the forty-hour limit because each was lag- 
ging behind normal productive capacity. "When this happens, 
fewer men are employed." 

Willkie attacked the weakness in both the Securities Act of 
1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The fact that 
both these Acts meritoriously remedied certain abuses in the 


sale of securities to the public failed to justify the harmful as- 
pects of the legislation. Abuses must be corrected, he said, but 
in a manner to preserve and promote that flow of private capital 
which is so vital for the orderly expansion of industry. The 
Acts in question had so completely restricted the market that 
businessmen, tangled in the red tape of governmental require- 
ments, found it immensely more difficult to obtain the capital 
required for promotion. As a result, the workingman had fewer 

In the spring of 1939, accordingly, seventeen spokesmen of 
the stock exchanges of the whole country submitted to the 
chairman of SEC, William O. Douglas, later a justice on the 
Supreme Court, a carefully drafted proposal for the amendment 
of the Acts. The report was lightly rejected by Chairman Doug- 
las with the flip remark: "Throwing things out so that the boys 
in the Street can have another party isn't going to help recov- 
ery." To Willkie it was a matter of little concern whether or 
not the boys in the Street incidentally enjoyed a party as a 
result of these changes. The crucial question was whether or 
not such modification could provide American industry with 
the "life-giving flow of capital." Vices and virtues were equally 
annihilated by the Acts, and economic sterility resulted. 

By such direct attacks upon the theories of the New Deal 
Willkie aroused the people to a fresh evaluation of the unwise 
policies instituted in Washington. He focused public opinion 
on the issues of profit versus security, and Free Enterprise as 
against a Planned Society. In strong and vigorous language he 
reminded the people of the vast accomplishments of industry 
and the high level of prosperity they enjoyed. 


Two Famous Debates 

WILLKIE RELISHED forensics and verbal controversy. As a 
boy he had been brought up on debate. His father had encour- 
aged him to present cases which the senior Willkie then pro- 
ceded to tear apart. His best extracurricular activity in high 
school as well as college was debate. Thus by training as well 
as by natural talent he was brilliant in rebuttal and in spon- 
taneous speaking. Such success reflected the keen enjoyment he 
felt in pitting mind against mind. Therefore he eagerly accepted 
the invitation of Town Hall to debate with Robert H. Jackson 
on the night of January 6, 1938. The question was: "How Can 
Government and Business Work Together." 

Willkie had heard rumors that the President was fully aware 
of the seriousness of the 1937 depression and was now ready to 
end his quack experimentations and take the solid advice of 
his Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau. Willkie be- 
lieved these reports, especially after the Secretary's notable 
speech of late November, 1937, in which he promised a bal- 
anced budget and co-operation with business in a sound finan- 
cial program. It was later said that the President vacillated 
between the stable financial advice of Morgenthau, Jesse Jones, 
Donald Richberg, and John W. Hanes on the one hand and the 
schemes of the Corcoran-Cohen-Hopkins-Ickes brigade on the 



other. In a quandary as to which way to jump, yet hoping he 
might juggle both plans, the President was persuaded to permit 
Corcoran and Cohen to launch a propaganda campaign to blame 
business for the 1937 recession and to renew the attacks against 
industrial leaders. The new goal was to be an expanded program 
of social security and government planning. 

The key speakers chosen for this barrage were Robert H. 
Jackson and Harold L. Ickes. At this time Jackson was a young 
lawyer in the Justice Department and one of the Corcoran- 
Cohen circle, who was noted for his brilliant speaking. Ickes 
was selected because as a member of the Cabinet his name would 
add luster to the venture. 

The first two speeches of Jackson's, given in early December, 
1937, were so legalistic as to attract little attention from the 
press. Thereafter the Corcoran-Cohen team wrote the speeches 
themselves. As a result the third speech of Jackson's, given the 
night after Christmas, had plenty of punch. Radio listeners 
throughout the land heard an agent of the President throw all 
the blame for the economic recession upon business: "By profit- 
eering, the monopolists and those so near monopoly as to con- 
trol their prices have simply priced themselves out of the 
market, and priced themselves into a slump." Several nights 
later both Jackson and Ickes made speeches based on the spuri- 
ous book by Ferdinand Lundberg, America's Sixty Families 
(1937). These three speeches received excellent press coverage 
which, of course, was their purpose. 

In fact, the public was so aroused that the astute director of 
America's Town Meeting of the Air quickly perceived the 
drama of a Jackson- Willkie debate and hastily made plans for 
the event. The debate proved to be a landmark in national 
forensics. Ten million listeners in almost four million homes 
heard the champions join issue on this occasion. At last a spokes- 
man for the businessmen of America faced on equal terms an 
official spokesman for planned economy. In the public hearings, 
before congressional committees, Willkie had been submitted 
to the inferior position which a witness giving testimony to a 
committee which controls the rules is compelled to assume. In 
New York, before the radio audience, both speakers met on 
terms of equality. 


In the opening of the debate, Jackson bluntly declared that 
the word business meant something different to him from what 
it did to Willkie. To Jackson it meant small business enterprise, 
while to his colleague it meant corporate bigness. As a lawyer 
in private practice he devoted himself to the interest of small 
business. In government service he had continued to serve the 
interest of small business. It was his job now to use the "archaic 
anti-trust laws" to preserve small and independent business. 

He held that Big Business was at war on many fronts with 
Government. Why did business and Government oppose each 
other? First, business was expected to furnish steady jobs for 
all who wanted work. But industry had failed in its responsi- 
bility to the worker so that Government had to meet it for 
industry. "A man off the payroll is a man on the tax roll. And 
whether or not business liked this as a philosophy, it must face 
the fact/' he said. 

Second, while business loudly proclaimed that it could stand 
alone and hence resented any government interference, it could 
not in reality exist unaided by Government. Private enterprise 
had always operated under "concealed subsidies." In the nine- 
teenth century it was public lands, and currently it was the 
Works Progress Administration. Hence, Government must fill 
in the gap of unemployment. 

In the third place, Jackson declared that there was a silent 
conflict in the country between two kinds of industry, namely 
monopoly and competitive enterprise. Monopolies and trusts 
were committed to a policy of high price and low volume, while 
competitive business continually made its own price adjust- 
ments. He cited steel production, which had declined nearly 
ninety per cent of capacity without dropping its price a penny. 
If steel were a competitive industry, he maintained, this could 
not have happened. Other basic monopolies follow the same 
policy. Unfortunately much of competitive industry, he held, 
was largely dependent upon monopoly for its raw materials. 

In the fourth place, he charged that the depression of 1937 
was caused by lack of buying power. The Administration's 
underlying policy had been to sustain and promote purchasing 
power. He pointed to the desirability of a minimum wage law 
(Walsh-Healey Act, later written into the Fair Labor Standards 


Act of 1938). The National Labor Relations Act, which guar- 
anteed labor the right to bargain collectively for higher wages, 
and the farm bills and relief measures, which also aided the 
market, had all been opposed by Big Business. 

In the fifth place, the American people do not want to see all 
business swallowed up by a few corporations. Congress had 
attempted to break down the concentration of power in business 
and would continue to do so as fast as the "imperialists of busi- 
ness" piled it up. Here was the point of difference between 
Mr. Willkie and the Government, he added. Mr. Willkie con- 
trols utility companies in six states through one holding com- 
pany. It was the democratic instinct of our people which inspired 
the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. The people 
would prefer that Mr. Willkie could control only two or three 
states rather than six, he added. 

The address terminated with a smug eulogy of the New 
Dealers, which he termed "Men in Government." "Men in 
Government," he said, are faced with all kinds of problems and 
conditions. Everybody's business is their business. On the other 
hand, the businessman is preoccupied with a narrow section 
of the world. Here was to be found the fundamental difference 
in viewpoint underlying the conflict between Big Business and 
Government, "Men in Government," he concluded, having ap- 
plied their superior wisdom to the problem of Business and 
Government, had found a solution. It was simple: Business 
must adopt a policy of large volume, low prices and a high wage 

With a keen sense of histrionic effect, Willkie began his reply 
in a somewhat different key from his opponent. "I wonder," 
he said, "if it seems strange to any of you tonight that we 
should be discussing the question of whether or not the Govern- 
ment should co-operate with American business." He thought 
that the Fathers of the Constitution who had founded the 
Government would also be puzzled by a town meeting which 
discussed the subject of whether or not Government should 
co-operate with American business. They might ask if it were 
not the function of Government always to encourage the devel- 
opment of private enterprise. As for the town meeting itself, 
the present program was being carried to listeners in all parts 


of the land by means of an instrument, the radio, which had 
been developed not by Government, but rather by Big Business 
in the short span of fifteen years. Large-scale production had 
cut prices of radio sets by three-fourths of the original figures, 
resulting in the sale of these instruments to nearly twenty-five 
million families in the United States. 

He ridiculed the implication of Jackson that officeholders in 
Washington were endowed with special virtue, vision, and 
ability, while businessmen were ruthless dictators of sprawling 
industrial empires with no real ability except the talent for 
collecting money for themselves. He asked his audience to 
remember Joe or Tom or Dick who left the home town to go 
into business in the city, and others who had left to go into 
politics. On the basis of their own individual experiences of 
such home-town boys, he asked, which today wear the longer 
horns or the whiter wings: "I tell you quite frankly that I find 
no halo on the head of either." He thought Mr. Jackson might 
have difficulty in proving that governmental officials possessed 
a monopoly of virtue. 

Willkie assailed Jackson's statement that Big Business and 
Small Business have different and opposing interests. Jackson 
had even warned against co-operation of Government with Big 
Business because Small Business required a different kind of 
co-operation. But actually, according to Willkie, Small Business 
and Big Business prosper under exactly the same conditions, 
while the conditions harmful to one are harmful to the other. 
In fact, Small Business suffered more acutely from such things 
as heavy taxation, governmental hostility, and timidity of in- 
vestors, because it had fewer reserves with which to preserve 
itself in time of adversity. Big Business always supplied a market 
to Small Business not only by buying its products but by stimu- 
lating the general market. Furthermore, Big Business furnished 
Small Business with low cost materials and supplies. The two 
were dependent upon each other, and the prosperity of one 
was the prosperity of the other. 

Moreover, a large corporation is simply a business divided 
among a great many small stockholders. If Government succeeds 
in destroying a large corporation, more people suffer employees 
as well as stockholders. Every American worker knows that the 


highest wages and the best working conditions are found in 
large corporations. The effect of the Wages and Hours Bill 
would be trifling on American big corporations because their 
wage levels were already above the minimum stated in the bill. 

It was ironical, he said, for government officials to be lec- 
turing Big Business on the desirability of low prices and large 
volume, because that was the technique which had made possi- 
ble the mass production and mass distribution which had wdh 
for American industry the admiration of the entire world. 

Citing the oil industry as an example of what Jackson con- 
demned, Willkie pointed to the system of service stations estab- 
lished by the industry, and now taken for granted in all parts 
of the country, but which could not be duplicated elsewhere 
in the world, as anyone who had traveled in Europe or Asia 
knew full well. Although nearly half the price of gasoline was 
a government tax, gasoline was cheaper in America than any 
other country, while the workers in American refineries were 
paid higher wages. In fact, the hourly wage rates in refineries 
had increased more than fifty per cent in the past fifteen years, 
while the gasoline price, excluding the tax, had declined by 
nearly the same amount. 

Another case in point was the telephone industry. More than 
fifty per cent of all telephones in the world were in the United 
States, and they cost the user a smaller part of his income than 
in any other country. And still another illustration was the 
enviable record of the automobile industry. Between 1928 and 
1932, the industry had lost eighty per cent of its business. In 
one year, the industry's net loss was half the cost of the Panama 
Canal. But during those bleak four years the industry produced 
a low-priced car which was better than the highest-priced car 
in 1926. 

Turning to his own field, public utilities, he told of the ac- 
complishments in electric power production. Since 1914, the 
cost of living had risen forty per cent, but the cost of electricity 
in this country had been cut by the same percentage. On an 
average, an American citizen paid nine cents a day for elec- 
tricity, or less than the government tax on a package and a half 
of cigarettes. The American consumer paid a smaller part of 
his income for electricity than the consumer in any country in 


Europe. It had been the big corporations in the utility field 
that had pioneered this constant reduction of cost. He cited 
the rates in Washington, D. C., where Mr. Jackson lived, as 
being one third lower than in the rural areas outside this city. 
Washington was serviced by the Great Northern American 
Holding Company system, while the neighboring territory was 
served by an independent company. The difference in rate 
meant to the homeowners in Washington a saving of one and a 
half million dollars per year in their electric bill. Similar com- 
parisons could be made in almost any state. 

Willkie declared that his Commonwealth and Southern com- 
panies operating in five states in the North and six in the South 
had an average rate that was lower than that of any other utility 
group in America. These companies were broadly scattered, a 
factor Mr. Jackson had highly condemned as pernicious to the 
economy. The billion-dollar holding company had effected such 
efficiency in management as to give the customers a continuously 
lower rate. He asked the logical question of his audience: Is 
mere size wrong even though it saves money for the people? 

The blame for the depression of 1937 Jackson had attributed 
to business. That evening he had made much of monopoly 
prices which artificially held up the price level as in the steel 
industry. Furthermore, in recent speeches he had charged that 
there existed "a strike of capital against the Government." 
Willkie responded by saying such a castigation of business was 
absurd. Is it likely, he asked, that industrial leaders are willing, 
like Samson, to destroy themselves in order to pull down the 
house? Are the automobile companies deliberately trying to 
curtail the sale of cars? Are the steel companies purposely oper- 
ating at only twenty per cent of capacity? Did they increase 
prices for no reason? Actually, the steel industry increased prices 
less than the increase in wages and costs of materials. 

As to the strike of capital, if there be such a strike, Willkie 
declared, it came from the millions of small investors, not from 
the wealthy few. Because of the income tax laws, which took 
eighty-three per cent of a rich man's investment in private 
enterprise, most of them had been investing in tax-exempt 
government securities. It might be helpful to industry and to 
government revenues, he added, if Government removed these 


tax exemptions. However, that would not of itself solve the 
problem. The great cause of capital stagnation was fear of 
Government. For several years, the Government had taken 
definite action to show its hostility to business. It must now 
take definite actioft to demonstrate its sincere wish to co-operate. 
As an example, the utilities needed to spend several hundred 
million dollars for new construction each year; their only means 
for securing this fresh capital was by sale of securities. But the 
investor would buy the stocks and bonds of a corporation only 
in case he considered the investment safe and the return prom- 
ising. When the Government competed with private industry 
as it was now doing in the Tennessee Valley by selling electricity 
at less than cost and then charging deficits to the federal Treas- 
ury, the investor lost confidence in private enterprise and kept 
his money in a bank. The investor knew that if the Government 
could compete in an area amounting to fifteen per cent of the 
United States, it could compete with any industry, anywhere. It 
was a question of confidence. Thus capital went on "strike." 

Willkie freely admitted that there had been abuses in some 
industries and that these should be corrected. But, so also with 
Government. "Betrayals of trust have stained the record of 
public officials as well as businessmen/' he said. The decade 
following the First World War displayed a notorious break- 
down in public and private morals. For the first time in 
American history, a Cabinet official was sent to the penitentiary. 
Even some of the superintendents of veterans' hospitals were 
indicted for stealing supplies allocated for the care and comfort 
of the patients. Willkie referred to President Roosevelt's recent 
defense of the charges of fraud in the federal relief agencies, 
in which he said: "Every profession has its black sheep." If this 
be the attitude that the public should assume toward the mis- 
takes of Government, then it should also be the attitude toward 

The time had come to end the campaign of hate and hostility 
that the Roosevelt Administration had engendered against one 
segment of society. There should be an end to name-calling and 
glib catchwords such as "economic royalists," "Bourbons," 
"moneyed aristocrats" and "banker control," as well as all the 
nonsense about the "sixty ruling families." 


Why did business and Government now stand so far apart? 
The cause was not only a difference in motives. It was also 
fundamentally psychological. Washington officials and business- 
men failed to understand each other. One spoke the language 
of politics and emotionalism, and the other the language of 
economics and realism. One thought economic forces could be 
controlled by politics while the other knew that economic forces 
were more powerful than either Government or business. 

Willkie also was ready with a plan as a remedy of the present 
sorry mess. Both business and Government should put an end 
to the bitterness of recent years and sit down in conference like 
reasonable men with mutual tolerance and respect. Such a con- 
ference should not only deal with intelligent plans for the 
future, but also should review the Congressional laws hastily 
passed with a view to modifying them in such manner as to 
stimulate business activity without removing any of the ap- 
propriate social controls. Above all, such a conference must 
meet in a spirit of friendship and not hostility. "We are not 
enemies, but friends," he said, "we must not be enemies." 

When Willkie finished his address, the applause of Town 
Hall amounted to an ovation. Willkie had spoken with dynamic 
effect, and the audience realized that it had just witnessed the 
skyrocketing of a man to national fame. The formal addresses 
were followed by questions from the floor. In this oral bout, 
Willkie proved to be particularly adept, while Jackson faltered. 

A voice in the audience asked Jackson: "Do you think the 
fair way to get lower electric rates is to subsidize municipal 
competition with fifty per cent grants and free taxation?" 

The spokesman of the New Deal answered: "I don't think 
the question of fairness enters into it. I don't know that it is 
necessarily unfair for two policemen to arrest one crook. But, 
if the Government of the United States is going to carry out 
its power policy by competitive methods, because we have seen 
the methods of regulation due to big holding companies' control 
break down, it must use the ordinary competitive methods." 

The reply was received with a loud burst of condemnation 
from the excited audience. An American town meeting loves 
good sportsmanship. Jackson's castigation of utility executives 
as crooks, following upon Willkie's appeal to abandon the New 


Deal practice of name-calling, struck the audience as a shabby 
trick. Even more significant, however, was the intimation that 
the underlying design of New Deal utility policy was to "break" 
the public utilities. 

Likewise, Jackson won few friends by his flippant answer to 
the question about the difference in procedure between the 
Government's operations in the Tennessee Valley and the Insull 
operations. The questioner had pointed out that Insull and the 
Tennessee Valley Authority had presented to the public an 
incomplete balance sheet. With amazing irrelevance, Jackson 
replied: "I am not an accountant. I don't know the details of 
the accounting of the TVA and I don't know the details of the 
accounting of private utilities." To the alert radio audience, 
this confession of ignorance simply dodged the issue. 

The "detail" of accounting, of course, as Willkie had so 
eloquently pointed out in his testimony before the congressional 
hearings, was fundamental to a comparison of public operation 
with private operation, or to an understanding of the advan- 
tages of public ownership as opposed to private ownership. 
Thus Jackson, the brilliant spokesman for the "well-integrated 
group," lost his case before a discerning audience when he dis- 
claimed any knowledge of the very heart of the public utility 

Among various interrogations, Willkie was asked two ques- 
tions in particular which gave him an opportunity to reinforce 
his already convincing argument. The first was, "Why were the 
Canadian electric rates so much less than the rates of the utility 
companies on this side of, Niagara?" He replied that the dif- 
ference lay in the fact that American utility companies were 
paying up to twenty per cent of their gross revenue in taxes, 
while the public plants in Canada paid no taxes, except a small 
tax on real estate. The other question was whether it was not 
true that the rates of Commonwealth and Southern Corporation 
had been lowered because of the pressure from TVA. Willkie 
replied that in the eleven states in which his companies oper- 
ated, the five in the North maintained a little lower rate than 
the six in the South. The question, however, gave Willkie the 
welcomed opportunity to point out some bitter facts. "The 
Tennessee Valley Authority was building competitive lines, and 


the federal Government was giving forty-five per cent capital 
absolutely free with which to duplicate existing utility systems 
in Tennessee. The average rate of the Tennessee Electric Power 
Company was less than three cents per kilowatt hour, which 
was twenty-five to thirty per cent below the national average, 
and private companies would be destroyed and the investors 
lose their money if this policy, which Mr. Jackson recognized 
had no element of fairness in it, was not discontinued." 

The brilliance of his performance brought Willkie wide 
public acclaim. Editors of conservative journals were quick to 
exploit the sensational aspects of the meeting. They were un- 
merciful in exposing the weakness of Jackson's rebuttal. 

Deep was the chagrin of the White House over the defeat of 
its spokesman in this debate. The President had even enter- 
tained plans for the young attorney as a vote-getter, and had 
directed Corcoran to explore the possibility of securing the 
Democratic nomination for governor of New York for him. The 
forensic defeat at the hands of Willkie, however, ended all hopes 
of winning an elective office for the fair-haired boy of the New 

Willkie's second debate with New Dealers lacked much of 
the drama of the Town Hall Meeting of the Air. Nevertheless, 
he again pricked his opponents' arguments as if they were soap 
bubbles. The occasion was the eighth annual Forum of the 
New York Herald Tribune, on October 26, 1938, held at the 
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Among a distinguished panel of speak- 
ers, they were only two with whom Willkie was concerned: 
Thunnan Arnold, Assistant United States Attorney-General, 
and William O. Douglas, chairman of the Securities and Ex- 
change Commission. 

Willkie was the last speaker on the afternoon's program, 
which gave him the advantage of rebuttal. Arnold's speech had 
been a little vague as he discussed the "established church" of 
the state, apparently equated with its "folk lore," which em- 
bodied the art of compromise and the reconciliation of spiritual 
values with material values. But lastly, he charged that all social 
reforms for the past hundred years had been opposed by the 
same forces using the same ideas and the same phrases. 

Willkie replied that, since Mr. Arnold had substituted the 


image and language of the church for the folklore of capitalism, 
the subtleties of his discourse were difficult to understand. "My 
faith," Willkie said, "is a more simple one/' He stated that, 
assuming businessmen today did use the language of a hundred 
years ago, there were three basic fallacies in the conclusion 
drawn. First, that such criticism by what Arnold called the 
opposition had been only disgruntled croakings unworthy of 
serious consideration. The forebodings of this "opposition," 
he declared, had often proved to be accurate warnings of future 
disaster. Although Andrew Jackson's war on the United States 
Bank had been regarded by his supporters as the symbol of 
his triumph over capitalistic tyranny, the opposition had warned 
the irascible old President that smashing the Bank of the United 
States would leave the country without an adequate banking 
system. This warning went unheeded, he said, with the result 
that the panic of 1837 ensued while the nation suffered for the 
greater part of a century from a weakened financial structure. 
The violent fluctuations in our monetary values during the past 
one hundred years had been due to an inadequate credit system 
which stemmed back to Andrew Jackson. Undoubtedly, a more 
reasonable recognition of the merits of the opposition on the 
part of Jackson and his party would have led to a sounder 
solution. To President Jackson, Nicholas Biddle was an eco- 
nomic royalist, and thus Biddle was destroyed by a presidential 
policy guided by emotion rather than reason. 

Willkie pointed to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 
which, he said, was intended to regulate the railroads. Bitter 
opposition arose to this Act, the kind of opposition "which Mr. 
Arnold dislikes." Yet despite the abuses which the Act checked, 
it had not been wholly beneficial to railroad operations or the 
public. "May not the regimentation imposed upon the railroads 
with its multiple regulations covering everything from the 
speed of trains to the building of spur tracks, be partly respon- 
sible for making the railroads today the country's number one 
economic problem?" The opposition was sometimes right, Will- 
kie declared, even though some of its members were "princes of 
privilege." Many times the cries of the opposition have proved 
to be all too accurately prophetic of the future. 

A second fallacy was the assumption that opponents of reform 


had always been wholly ineffective. On the contrary, Willkie 
held, the opposition has frequently had influence in modifying 
measures which might otherwise have been far too drastic and 
destructive. The opposition to the New Deal in recent years, 
feeble though perhaps it was, had influence in eliminating some 
of the more dangerous and destructive provisions of the pro- 
posed legislation. 

The third and worst fallacy, Willkie said, was that the protests 
of the opposition should be ignored and that the Administration 
program was inevitably right. Willkie admitted that the Roose- 
velt Administration had been statesmanlike in some of its social 
and economic proposals. Certainly, the industrial activities and 
social needs of the United States had outgrown regulations by 
the states alone. The increasing national and international 
operations of American business had created a need for federal 
economic laws, while the quest for security demanded social 
legislation on a national scale. But, he said with emphasis, en- 
lightened industry also recognized these changes. The attitude 
of wise businessmen had come to be not "how can we fight 
this legislation?" but rather, "how can we make it workable?" 
Thus, those in Government should welcome this attitude and 
seek the co-operation of business. The name-calling, the loose 
accusations, the personal prejudices which hindered recovery 
should now end and be forgotten. Government and business 
should henceforth work together. "We shall be faithless to our 
generation and our time if we fail to consolidate the gains and 
remedy the losses, for there have been losses in the past five 
years. A blind faith in one's inevitable Tightness is a fine quality 
for a crusade, but a dangerous one for the political administra- 
tion of Government." 

The other speaker with whom Willkie took issue was William 
O. Douglas, who spoke upon the great advantages of the system 
of administrative commissions, of which the Securities and Ex- 
change Commission was one, and the need for increasing their 
discretionary powers. 

Willkie was prompt to admit the cogency of the argument 
for administrative regulation of many phases of national life. 
But, Willkie countered, the men sitting on the various com- 
missions who hold in their hands such extraordinary power 


must exercise it with such a fine sense of justice that all men 
subject to their jurisdiction would know and feel that their 
own political faith and their economic or political beliefs were 
not to be destroyed by agents of a tyrannical government. "For 
tyranny is but the exercise of discretionary power over the lives 
and fortunes of others," said Willkie. The experience with 
discretionary commissions had been that in the course of time 
they become either incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt, and 
frequently all three. But quite apart from these considerations, 
there was the more important fact that all this enlargement of 
administrative power presented an ideology different from the 
traditional democracy of this country. In America, this desire 
for greater security at all costs is the result of the depression 
which shook a too-blind faith in a too-blind industrial order. 
"We need more security and unquestionably we should take 
steps to attain it, but we must beware of its seductiveness," he 
said. A quick solution in order to solve temporary problems 
may only increase the problems of tomorrow. "A nation built 
for one generation is a nation built badly. From this standpoint 
many of us have found the planning of the New Deal alarming." 
These debates helped to focus public attention upon the New 
Deal and its public ownership policy. The man who in five 
brief years could so sway public opinion and who could so 
dramatize himself and his philosophy, was bound to be attracted 
to politics. In fact, only by engaging in the electoral contest 
could he carry further his views to the people on free enterprise. 
The struggles with the Government during the years 1933-38, 
therefore, provided the background and the reason for his 
candidacy in 1940. The congressional committee hearings gave 
him a platform to oppose the government policy. His subse- 
quent speeches ignited public interest. The debates with gov- 
ernment spokesmen ranked him as the most powerful opponent 
of the New Dealers. The events of the year of 1939 were to 
make him a political figure. 


He Becomes a Politician 

SPRINGTIME ALWAYS reaches the District of Columbia a 
fortnight earlier than New York City. The year 1959 was no 
exception. It was April; the cherry blossoms along the Potomac 
Basin were in full bloom, and the warm, balmy air invited 
excursions along the white-bordered river of the beautiful city. 
Willkie and his associates in the Commonwealth and Southern 
Corporation, who had come to Washington for a conference 
with federal officials, had completed their discussions in the 
late afternoon. The New Yorkers were in a hurry to return to 
the financial metropolis. But Willkie lingered, pleading an 
appointment. Then he asked his friend, A. C. Oliphant, to drive 
with him along the banks of the Potomac River. 

As the two men paused by the Lincoln Monument, Oliphant 
ventured to say: "Now that we are approaching conclusion of 
the Tennessee Valley controversy, with all the publicity that 
you have been receiving, you had better be careful or you will 
suddenly find yourself a candidate for the presidency." 

"They will never drag me into anything like that," Willkie 
promptly replied. 

The question brought to Willkie's mind a flood of memories 
concerning his brief venture into the political arena of Ohio. 
He had campaigned lustily, he told Oliphant, for Congressman 



Martin L. Davey. This was the same Davey who was subse- 
quently elected Governor of Ohio, but eventually ended his 
career in public disgrace. At the outset of the campaign in 1922, 
Willkie declared, the candidate had solemnly informed his loyal 
workers that he intended to conduct an honest and straight- 
forward fight. Each Tuesday morning, he held pep meetings 
and reiterated again and again the honesty with which he was 
conducting his effort for re-election. Willkie drove a wagon out 
into the rural districts to talk to the farmers; he made, so he 
thought, an honest effort to win their vote for an honest con- 
gressman. During the last week of the campaign, however, when 
competition between the candidates was intense, Davey gave 
final instructions which in Willkie's view lacked honesty and 
straightforwardness. Willkie protested. The candidate ex- 
plained: "This may be hedging a little, but you boys know that 
you can't help people if you can't get elected!" 

Willkie concluded his reverie by asserting that no politician 
was honest and that he could not tolerate the risk of being 
drawn into a vortex of deceit and chicanery. 

Regardless of Willkie's own desires, the chain of events 
which led directly to the nomination of the corporation lawyer 
for the presidency of the United States by the Republican 
National Convention of 1940 had already begun its rapid 

The amazing aspect of his candidacy was not only the rapidity 
with which his popularity developed, but also the fact that he 
was the only leading candidate since the days of Horace Greeley 
who had never held high state or federal office. 

Where did the candidacy of this personality originate? The 
answer requires a study of the sources. Where, indeed, is found 
the first bubbling spring of the stream that grows into a mighty 

In an editorial column of the New York Times, on February 
23, 1939, Arthur Krock broached the possibility of the Willkie 
candidacy for President on the Republican ticket. The idea had 
been developed in the mind of the distinguished columnist at 
an evening of random discussion by political dopesters cele- 
brating Washington's birthday. The evening had been spent 


in the favorite American pastime of speculation on the avail- 
ability of presidential candidates. All of Krock's companions 
had agreed that Dewey, Taft and Bricker were in the first line 
of favorites, and most of them also agreed that Senator Henry 
Cabot Lodge, Governor Leverett Saltonstall (Massachusetts), 
and Governor Arthur James (Pennsylvania), were in the second 
line of favorites. 

Thereupon a Democrat exclaimed: "How about that utility 
executive Wendell Willkie? He managed to talk himself into a 
good agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority." 

A Republican volunteered: "Willkie owns two farms in Indi- 
ana which he actually farms. Being from Indiana and a lawyer, 
there can be no doubt that he is a presidential candidate. All 
Indiana lawyers are candidates." 

A third member of the group said: "If Willkie is a Republi- 
can you can't count him out. He still has his hair cut in country 
style, and he will have a strong appeal to the folks back home." 

If this penetrating observer of the folkways of the American 
people had possessed full knowledge of his subject he might 
also have added the information that Willkie wore old-fashioned 
long underwear, a fact which surely could be used as an asset 
for capturing the farm vote. 

It was on the following day that Arthur Krock wrote his 
significant column, which gave the first conspicuous publicity 
to the Willkie candidacy. 

Raymond Moley was also alert to the potentialities of the 
newcomer. At a dinner in the early spring of 1939 given by 
May Davie at the River House, Moley proposed the name of 
Willkie as a likely candidate. On the same occasion, Helen 
Rogers Reid, of the New York Herald Tribune, added her voice 
in praise of the utility executive. 

Early in May, 1939, Samuel F. Pryor, Jr., a high-powered 
businessman, Connecticut politician, and church warden, in- 
vited Wendell Willkie to speak at a church dinner in Green- 
wich, Connecticut, held at the Greenwich Country Club in 
commemoration of the two hundredth anniversary of the found- 
ing of Christ Church. About seven hundred people attended. 
Willkie shared the platform with Raymond E. Baldwin, the 


governor of the state. The utility president, who spoke on 
national economy and production, completely overshadowed 
the fluent and personable Governor. 

In the latter part of May, the shrewd Washington news 
analyst, David Lawrence, discussed the availability o Wendell 
Wlllkie as the Republican nominee in his column which was 
syndicated in hundreds o newspapers. "In Wendell Willkie," 
he said,, "the Republicans would have an independent Demo- 
crat with a business ability and a leadership capacity which 
would fit the pattern that nine out of ten Republicans want but 
do not venture to ask for." 

On all sides Willkie suddenly found himself being proposed 
as a presidential possibility. He was a frequent guest of Raoul E. 
Desvemine, a prominent lawyer interested in politics, who 
delighted to bring to his dinner table the leaders of New York 
finance, politics and the press. At one of these dinners in the 
fall of 1939, which included as guests, Alfred E. Smith, Herbert 
Hoover, Ernest T. Weir, Alfred P. Sloan and Raymond Moley, 
the former Governor of New York declared that he was too 
old for active politics and proposed to hand his mantle to the 
young and vigorous Willkie. Desvernine and Smith, as well as 
Willkie, had worked for Alfred Landon, the Republican candi- 
date in 1936, under the mantle of Jeffersonian Democrats. The 
remainder of the evening, therefore, was spent in an evaluation 
of Willkie's ''availability" by some of the shrewdest figures in 
American political life. Several weeks later, Moley ran an 
"availability" story in his column in Newsweek. Meanwhile, 
Ernest T. Weir, president of the National Steel Corporation, 
began a one-man campaign to raise funds for a Willkie boom. 

Of all the loyalties that crisscross American politics, local 
patriotism is the most picturesque, especially as represented by 
any favorite-son movement. On the night of April 26, 1939, the 
Sons of Indiana had held an "Indiana Dinner" in New York 
City. Wendell Willkie and Homer E. Capehart were the speak- 
ers. During a pause in Willkie's dynamic address, Sumner 
Sternberg, a New York advertising executive, loudly exclaimed: 
"That's the kind of businessman we should have on the 
Republican ticket for President." Some six months later, on the 
night of November tenth, a second Hoosier dinner was held, 


on the eve of the Fordharn-Indiana football game. Willkie was 
toastmaster. He was in high form and did credit to his alma 
mater. As the evening progressed and as his quips and 
charm enchanted the diners, whispers spread round the room: 
"Wouldn't he make an ideal candidate for the presidency on 
the Republican ticket!*' A clever reporter whose story appeared 
in the Indianapolis papers described the sensational success of 
his performance and the sentiment of the Sons of Indiana in 
favor of "Willkie for President. 

At a luncheon of the Bond Club of New York on November 
twenty-first, Hugh Johnson declared that Wendell Willkie 
Tvould make an excellent presidential candidate. Shortly after- 
wards, Johnson publicly bragged that he had been the first to 
launch the Willkie boom. But Arthur Krock had scooped him 
by nine months. 

Despite such favorable signs of rising political fortune, the 
politicians had remained aloof, largely because it was generally 
believed that Willkie was a Democrat. About the middle of 
J^nuaiy, 1940, the New York Sun published a story that Willkie 
had" voted for Alf Landon in 1936. It offered this evidence to 
prove that he was a good Republican and hence worthy to be 
the party's standard-bearer. "Mr. Willkie," said the Sun, "who 
beat the New Deal in a six-year battle over TVA, has changed 
his alliance from the Democratic to the Republican Party and 
is now registered here as a Republican." 

On the train from his Greenwich home to his office in New 
York, Sam Pryor read the story with jubilation. Clutching a 
copy of the Sun in his hand, he hurried at once to Willkie's 
office to ask him if it were true that he was a Republican. Willkie 
replied that it was true because he could no longer stomach 
the Democratic creed. Then and there Pryor persuaded him to 
release a statement to this effect. Willkie reluctantly agreed, 
and Pryor telephoned the wire service and himself gave the 
story of Willkie's Republican adherence. 

Willkie first took note of his candidacy in a public address on 
January 29, 1940, when speaking at Wooster College in Ohio. 
Here he told his audience that he had received several thousand 
letters urging him to run for the presidency. Later in the eve- 
ning, in reply to questions by newsmen, he said: "I am not 


running for President. Of course, it is not going to happen, but 
if the nomination were given to me without strings, I would 
have to accept it. But I couldn't go out and seek delegates and 
make two-sided statements. I value my independence." 

Early in February, Russell Davenport, editor of Fortune, in- 
terviewed Willkie for a story which appeared in the April issue 
of that magazine, together with an article by Willkie under the 
title of "We, the People." With Willkie's article was a box con- 
taining half a dozen paragraphs purporting to be a petition. It 
began: "Before the political platforms are written, we, the 
people, have a declaration and a petition to make." Each of the 
paragraphs which followed the preamble made a specific attack 
upon some phase of New Deal policies. 

Harold E. Talbott, Wall Street capitalist, Long Island social- 
ite, and polo-playing sportsman, met Willkie as a guest at a 
luncheon given for Willkie at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Willkie 
spoke briefly at the luncheon, but it was enough for Talbott. 
The following week he called on Willkie at his office to ask 
what was being done to further his campaign. To Talbott's 
surprise the answer was: "Nothing." The potential candidate 
appeared to take all the political talk quite lightly. Talbott 
persisted. He wanted to know just who were the people actively 
supporting the candidacy. With a smile Willkie replied that 
the list was short. It consisted of Russell Davenport and Charl- 
ton MacVeagh. Thereupon Talbott gave a dinner party for the 
Willkies, the Davenports and the MacVeaghs in order to discuss 
politics. From then on, he was counted as one of the most active 
and important of the amateurs who sponsored the Willkie boom. 

A twenty-nine year old lawyer, Oren Root, Jr., was attracted 
to the Willkie movement. Although he had never met the utility 
president, he liked all he had read about him. A grandnephew 
of the staunch Republican statesman, Elihu Root, young Root 
had joined the Republican Party as soon as he left Princeton 
University. He wondered how many other people felt as he did. 
Determined to find out, he printed about a thousand "declara- 
tions" which he mailed to a selected list of graduates of Prince- 
ton, Yale, and Harvard, in the age group of thirty to forty. The 
first of these were mailed on Tuesday night, April 9, 1940, and 
one was sent to Wendell Willkie. The title of the declaration 


was taken from Willkie's article, "We, the People." No party 
affiliation was listed. The paper called for the nomination of 
Willkie, and provided space for signatures. Returns were to be 
mailed to Root's home address. 

The immediate response to these circulars was astonishing. 
The telephone in Root's law office was blocked for two days with 
calls about Willkie. Root decided to resign from his law practice 
and devote himself to the campaign. A small office was found 
at Sixty-third Street and Madison Avenue, and Root moved in. 
Here he set up the headquarters of the Associated Willkie Clubs 
of America. 

Root was without funds. He inserted a ten-line classified ad- 
vertisement in the New York Herald Tribune in April, asking 
for small contributions to promote a Willkie campaign. The 
name of Willkie proved to be magic: money, in small amounts, 
began to pour into the office. Talbott considered the Willkie 
Clubs an excellent idea and he frequently visited the headquar- 
ters, advising young Root and making temporary advances when 
the money ran low. A button was designed with "We the 
People" on it and a first order of twenty thousand was fearfully 
made. But the demand for buttons increased rapidly. Some 
days as many as fifty thousand were mailed out to local Willkie 
Clubs. By the time the convention opened some five million 
persons had signed the "declarations," half a million buttons 
had been distributed, and seven hundred Willkie Clubs had 
been organized. 

All these various factors emphasized the growing awareness 
of Willkie as a political figure. Yet he steadfastly refused to 
make any public statement as to his plans. He did, however, 
take his brothers into his confidence in early March. His mother 
had died on March tenth; the children gathered at Elwood for 
the funeral. After the ceremony, as the four brothers sat talking, 
Wendell confided to them that he had decided to seek the presi- 
dential nomination at Philadelphia in the coming June. 

In the meanwhile, Willkie continued to make speeches and 
write articles^ut without posing as a candidate. He continued 
his attack upon the philosophy and policies of Big Government 
in the same manner as he had criticized the Roosevelt Adminisr 
tration since the year 1935. He castigated the past seven years 


as the "Age of Illusion." During this Age, he said, a false philos- 
ophy had flourished which taught that one man's gain was an- 
other man's loss. This was based on the fallacious idea that the 
American economy had become static, and that there was a limit 
to wealth, which in turn limited opportunity. According to such 
a philosophy, management could only gain at the expense of 
labor, or labor at the expense of management. But it was not 
the speeches which won him the hearts of America; it was, 
rather, a stunt radio performance. 

Probably in no country in the world are quiz programs so 
popular as in the United States. By participation on such a 
program, called "Information Please," Willkie gave enormous 
momentum to his popularity. His friends advised him against 
such a foolhardy endeavor; partly because they considered it 
undignified and partly because there was a large risk of making 
himself ridiculous. But despite their words of caution, Willkie 
went on the air on the evening of April ninth. He surprised the 
experts, confounded his critics, delighted and thrilled his audi- 
ence. Easy, fluent, and scintillating, he made an excellent show- 

Participating with him were Clifton Fadiman, the master of 
ceremonies, Christopher Morley, Franklin P. Adams, and John 
Kieran. The questions put to him which most thoroughly de- 
lighted the studio audience were those pertaining to govern- 
ment. With a mischievous twinkle, the master of ceremonies 
said: "The Constitution was adopted to promote what, Mr. 

"To promote the public welfare," he answered, but was cor- 
rected to "general welfare." 

"To insure what?" 

Christopher Morley tried "tranquility," and Willkie supplied 
the missing word, "domestic tranquility." 

"To provide what?" 

"Wasn't that the blessings of liberty?" replied Willkie. And 
the studio audience applauded with relish and delight. The 
people were well aware of the single-handed fight he had made 
all during the thirties for the continued liberties of a free enter- 
prise system. 

To the question as how two bills might pass Congress, each 


be unsigned by the President, yet one of them would become 
law and the other not, Willkie was the only one to raise his 
hand. Of course the simple answer was that a bill becomes law 
without the President's signature within ten days after being 
sent to his desk, unless in the meantime Congress should 
adjourn. After Willkie's explanation, Fadiman commented 
smoothly, "A pretty thing to know/' 

"I should know, I had to watch so many laws go through 
Congress," Willkie snapped back. 

Millions of listeners followed every word with excitement. 
Call it radio personality or perhaps a casual, devil-may-care 
manner, but that night Willkie caught the imagination of the 
people. He had been natural, easy, spontaneous, and wholly 
charming. The following day, the country over, Willkie had 
suddenly become to the people a human personality. The simple 
quiz program gave the Willkie boom mass appeal. 

Four days later the annual dinner of the Washington corres- 
pondents' Gridiron Club was held at the Willard Hotel in 
Washington, D. C. The elite of the capital's politicians and 
newsmen were present, as were the most imposing industrialists 
from Wall Street. Without benefit of professional guidance the 
Willkie boom had progressed to the point where the entire 
nation was aware of the man, Willkie. A paradox in American 
history had appeared. A presidential boom launched in Wall 
Street, the anathema of rural America, had won a welcomed 
response from every section of the United States. The boom 
had developed along unorthodox lines. His name had not even 
been entered in any state primary election, and no group of 
delegates had been pledged to his candidacy. These men of high 
influence clustered about in small groups talking about the 
sensation he had made on the Information Please program. 
That night Willkie's name was on every lip. Everyone was en- 
thusiastic in their praise of his personality, his charm, his elo- 
quence as a speaker, and his brilliance as a debater. 

Another episode in the same month which promoted his repu- 
tation among local celebrities was the Willkie-Ickes debate on 
the third term issue. It was a highly humorous exchange and so 
unusual as to be talked about for weeks afterwards. The debate 
wasj3efore_the Press Club in Washington* on April nineteenth. 


Ickes refused to speak first, although he presented the affirmative 
side. To give the lighter touch, Willkie said he opposed the 
third term because there were available so many other good 
men. For example, there was Harold Ickes who would make an 
excellent presidential candidate. When Ickes arose to speak he 
only recited some doggerel poetry. In rebuttal, therefore, 
Willkie replied that "Mr. Ickes will have to write better poetry 
than that if he wants my vote." 

By now there was another small group who had quietly begun 
to make plans. Frank Altschul was one of these. A member of 
Lazard Frres & Co,, investment bankers, and a recent chairman 
of the Finance Committee of the" Republican Party, he had been 
attracted to Willkie when he heard him debate with Jackson. 
Early in the spring of 1940, therefore, he asked Kenneth Simp- 
son for luncheon. Simpson was New York County Chairman of 
the Republican Party and National Committeeman from New 
York. When Altschul told him that he had a presidential candi- 
date for him, he asked, "Who?" without any show of interest. 
With pride the banker replied, "Wendell Willkie." 

Simpson was unimpressed. He told Altschul, "You just don't 
understand politics! Damn it all! Just suppose I go to the boys 
and tell them I have a candidate by the name of Willkie. They 
would just laugh! Damn it all, you don't know what it takes for 
a presidential candidate!" Simpson went on explaining the in- 
tricacies of a political organization. 

"You have to think of the workers in politics, the precinct 
captains and the ward committeemen. If I told them that 
Willkie is president of Commonwealth & Southern they would 
probably ask me where that railroad runs to. To tell them that 
CfeS is a billion-dollar utility corporation would only make 
them laugh louder and say, 'So what?' You have got to under- 
stand politics, damn it! The man just won't pull the rank and 

Unperturbed by the political wisdom marshaled by the prac- 
tical politician, Altschul patiently and eloquently elaborated 
his arguments in favor of Wendell Willkie. To his own amaze- 
ment, he ended by actually making a convert of the hard-headed 
committeeman. It was a brilliant conquest, for soon Simpson 


proved to be the most powerful supporter of Willkie in the 
"pivotal" Empire State. His support at the Philadelphia Con- 
vention in June, 1940, was to split the New York delegation, 
which gave Willkie a great advantage. 

Altschul also interested Styles Bridges of New Hampshire in 
Willkie. Although Bridges was a favorite son of his own state 
for the presidential nomination, he had a marked admiration 
for the utility executive. He had become acquainted with 
Willkie during the TVA hearings and had watched with keen 
approval Willkie's spirited defense of free enterprise. So well 
disposed was the New Hampshire Senator toward the Willkie 
boom that he took a trip across the country early in the spring 
in order to estimate whether there was sufficient sentiment to 
make the nomination possible. In talking to politicians in state 
after state, Bridges used his own candidacy as a sort of blind to 
feel out the sentiment of western leaders towards the New York 
utility president. "When Bridges returned to New York he was 
able to report to Altschul that Willkie was genuinely popular 
in the hinterland. More than this, he asserted his own readiness 
to pledge his support for the candidate at the Philadelphia 
Convention after the first ballot. 

Another enthusiastic recruiter for Willkie was Charlton Mac- 
Veagh, litterateur and industrialist. He. enlisted Russell Daven- 
poil to accompany him to Washington to see John D. M. Hamil- 
tonjJhe National Chairman of the Republican Party. MacVeagh 
was no mere acquaintance of the National Chairman. He had 
labored with Hamilton in the 1936 campaign and had written 
the great convention speech delivered by Hamilton. The Na- 
tional Chairman listened with more than his usual courtesy as 
MacVeagh discussed the political qualifications of Wendell 
Willkie. In fact, MacVeagh, a consummate master of the English 
language, presented his candidate to Hamilton in such convinc- 
ing terms that the National Ghaug&ao. therewith- committed 
himself to, the Willkie movement. This was another great 
triumph as Hamilton was not only National Chairman, but also 
the most influential personality in the upper echelon of Repub- 
lican party leaders. Of course, no small influence in this decision 
was his respect and affection for Altschul. Hamilton was further 


impressed by a group of men he had recently met in the South 
who pledged themselves to raise more money than ever before 
if Willkie was to be the candidate of the party. 

MacVeagh did much of the spade work for Willkie before the 
convention. He wrote nearly all of the early campaign literature, 
and indeed parts of Willkie's speeches. He was the channel of 
contact between the amateurs who labored for Willkie and the 
professional politicians like Pryor and Hamilton. He was also 
in constant touch with Talbott and Davenport. 

Another original supporter of Willkie was Sinclair Weeks, of 
Boston. Weeks was a power in the financial world, and at the 
same time he possessed an enlightened concept of both industry 
and politics. He had inherited an interest in politics from his 
father, who had been Secretary of War in the Cabinet of Presi- 
dent Harding. Through the influence of Joseph Martin, Repub- 
lican boss of Massachusetts, Weeks had been appointed National 
Committeeman from the Commonwealth. Weeks first became 
acquainted with Willkie at a dinner of the National Association 
of Manufacturers in March of 1939. On this occasion, he sat 
next to Willkie, but had to ask the man on the other side of him 
the name of his unknown table companion. Their second meet- 
ing came six months later at another NAM banquet at which 
Willkie made the principal address. The concluding sentence of 
this speech impressed itself upon the Boston financier. Willkie 
had enumerated certain economic and political changes that 
should be made. "And if we do all these things life may begin 
in '40." 

The next time that they met was in April, 1940, at the Grid- 
iron dinner in Washington. Weeks greeted Willkie by saying, 
"I hear your name mentioned for the presidency." "What do 
you think I am, a God-damn fool?" replied the man who, on 
that evening, was the center of attention. He wanted no one to 
think he took such talk seriously. Only a few weeks after this 
encounter, Willkie telephoned Weeks for an appointment. In 
this conversation, Willkie frankly talked about politics and 
asked the millionaire Republican for his support. Without con- 
sulting Joe Martin, Weeks gave his pledge. Nor did he rue his 
prompt decision when several weeks later he was taken over the 
coals politically for this unilateral action. 


Despite all this fanfare, Willkie made no political speeches 
until his speech in Saint Paul on May eleventh. He came to 
Minnesota on invitation from Governor Harold E. Stassen, who 
explained that at various times that spring, the party had 
brought Robert A. Taft, Thomas E. Dewey and Arthur H. Van- 
denberg face to face with the voters. Willkie eagerly accepted 
the invitation. This invitation in no way implied any support 
from either the Republican Party in Minnesota or from the 
Governor himself. The importance of the Saint Paul address, 
however, was the unique opportunity that it gave Willkie to 
launch his political career in a western state. 

Before leaving for Saint Paul, Willkie discussed foreign policy 
with Raymond Moley. The distinguished political scientist dis- 
covered to his delight that Willkie was fully convinced that 
while the United States should stay out of the war, this country 
should afford the Allies the "brass knuckles" of war in order to 
carry on their defense against Hitler. In this respect Willkie 
anticipated the Rooseveltian lend-lease policy by seven months. 
He was a little vague about the details of this plan, Moley found, 
but at least he urged vigorous preparation for national defense 
in view of the eventuality that America might have to wage 
war against Nazi Germany without the aid of allies. 

No one appreciated more than Moley the boldness of a candi- 
date who would express such sentiments when seeking the nomi- 
nation for the presidency from a party long wedded to isolation 
a party that had blatantly rejected international co-operation 
and had fought every move of President Roosevelt to prepare 
the country for national defense. Moley was delighted with the 
courage of the new candidate. It remained to be seen how effec- 
tively he could perform at the hustings. 

At Saint Paul, Willkie spoke for the first time as a Republican 
candidate to a Republican audience. "It is my deep conviction," 
he said, "as it is yours, that this recovery now can only be 
achieved by the election of a Republican Administration in this 
coming campaign." He added that as a Republican he did not 
speak in any sense of arrogance but because of the obvious fact 
that the country was not making progress under the Demo- 
cratic Administration. In place of the principles of American 
free enterprise, a sprawling centralized government had been 


established which controlled the business activity of the people 
by non-elected commissioners. The New Deal had not only 
stifled initiative, but also had lowered the standard of living of 
the American people and had left more than nine million men 
without the opportunity to work. 

He made an eloquent plea for international trade agreements, 
which was in effect an endorsement of the Hull reciprocal trade 
treaties. To secure peace, security, and spiritual values, America 
should give to the democracies assistance short of war, he said. 

On the whole, the speech went off fairly well. Many western 
Republican politicians resented his support of the Hull reci- 
procity trade agreements, as well as his advocacy of international 
co-operation. The Midwest was still the center of American 
isolation. But the stark sincerity of the candidate captivated 
thousands of voters. Willkie made a good impression in Saint 
Paul and won some strong adherents. 

From the standpoint of effectiveness, the St. Paul address 
showed some errors the same kind of errors that later marked 
many of his addresses in the presidential campaign particu- 
larly a misplaced emphasis. On May 10, the day before the 
St. Paul address, the Nazi Army had moved into the Low Coun- 
tries and Winston Churchill had taken the place of the dis- 
credited Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister of England. 
The critical situation abroad, therefore, made the discussion of 
foreign policy the most important portion of his speech and 
that should have been its crowning climax. Instead, Willkie 
ended the address with a discussion of the farm problem. Fur- 
thermore, he failed to build his lines on the foreign issue to a 
dramatic pitch, with the result that the applause came in the 
wrong place. He began the discussion of foreign policy with his 
big line: "There is no disagreement as to our determination to 
stay out of war. This country is resolved not to send its sons to 
fight on the battlefields of Europe." Immediately there was long 
and tempestuous applause. His concluding remarks on this issue 
ended with the platitude: "Whatever we can do to aid that faith 
[democracy] without jeopardizing peace for our own land, that 
we should be willing to do." This conclusion drew no applause. 

Yet the speech did create considerable enthusiasm. The 
Willkie personality surmounted all technical flaws. One excited 


Republican said: "It seems incredible, but maybe you can be 
nominated. If so, I'd better buy a little Commonwealth and 
Southern on a hunch." Willkie laughed. "Better try Pennsyl- 
vania Rail stock. If I ever get into the White House, there will 
be such an exodus of New Dealers as will jam their facilities!" 
The Willkie pre-iconvention campaign was now fairly 
launched. The next strategic problem was the selection of the 
orator to present Willkie's name to the Republican Nominating 
Convention. This question had worried MacVeagh, and all the 
more so when he found old-line politicians skittish about com- 
mitting themselves to a doubtful candidate. Hamilton urged 
that the nominating speech be made by a politician from Indi- 
ana, and suggested Charles A. Halleck as the logical man. 
Halleck was one of the new members in Congress, a young man 
of good appearance and fervent speech. Moreover Halleck and 
Willkie had known each other for some years as they had both 
gone to the same university, pledged the same fraternity. Ambi- 
tious but cautious, Halleck was dubious whether his nomination 
of Willkie would advance his own career in the Republican 
Party. Finally,. Hamilton and Altschul persuaded him to take 

Willkie hastened to make a public announcement of this de- 
cision before Halleck quite realized that he had committed 
himself. The occasion was an off-the-record talk at a luncheon 
of the National Press Club at Washington on June twelfth. 
About a thousand members and guests jammed the dining 
room. The off-hand way in which Willkie made the announce- 
ment produced a startling effect. He broke the thread of his 
speech to say: "People keep asking me if I am a candidate. Of 
course I am a candidate, and my good friend Charlie Halleck, 
Representative from Indiana, will place my name in nomina- 
tion at the Republican Convention, and Representative Bruce 
Barton, from New York, will second it." To the newsmen who 
crowded around him upon the conclusion of the address, he 
predicted that his nomination would come quickly; probably 
on the sixth_or seventh ballot. 

To seasoned newspapermen, the Willkie campaign appeared 
refreshing but highly fantastic. Only a month ago he had deliv- 
ered his first political speech. On the twelfth of June he now 


made his first formal declaration of presidential aspirations. 
The nominating convention would open in less than a fortnight, 
and yet Willkie did not possess the pledge of a single state dele- 
gation. Never had a candidate started so late to campaign. His 
candidacy, thus far, was just a puff of wind. If it was to be more 
rhan this, he must have a respectable showing of support on the 
first ballot. This was all too apparent to the ever-versatile 
Pryor, who now hastily arranged a rapid tour for Willkie 
through New England in a belated move to secure some dele- 
gates. He placed his private airplane at Willkie's disposal. The 
trip through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island and Connecticut was completed in less than a 

The invasion of New England was a prosperous enterprise. 
In New Hampshire, Senator Styles Bridges gave him a warm 
welcome. As a "favorite son," the Senator commanded the eight 
votes of >JewH^mpshire > .which, he now openly promised to 
throw to Willkie after th.e first or second ballot. The arrange- 
ments for Willkie's speech in Boston had been made by Sinclair 
Weeks, before a luncheon meeting of the Massachusetts delega- 
tion, with Willkie as the only speaker. Willkie achieved a bril- 
liant conquest of his select audience. It was afterwards said that 
Willkie "had sold the delegates a magnificent bill of goods." In 
any event he secured the promise of twenty-two out of thirty- 
four Massachusetts votes after the second ballot. In the evening 
Willkie spoke to a large public audience which applauded his 
remarks with genuine enthusiasm. This public approval deep- 
ened the conviction of the Massachusetts delegates that Willkie 
was the man for the Republican victory. On the following day, 
the Republican Governor of Rhode, Island, William H. Vander- 
bilt, formally endorsed his candidacy at the Republican rally 
at Providence where Willkie spoke. 

Governor Raymond Earl Baldwin was the "favorite son" of 
Connecticut, and had been pledged the support of the delegates 
of this state. Nevertheless, he welcomed Willkie in Connecticut. 
Pryor had made the speaking arrangement for Willkie in Con- 
necticut although he did so with some trepidation as he had 
been urging Baldwin as the "favorite son" before knowing that 
Willkie was a Republican. He suddenly discovered that he had 


two candidates on his hands. Accordingly, he was much relieved 
when Willkie and Baldwin took an immense liking to each 
other. The New England tour furnished opportunity for a re- 
newal of their earlier acquaintance at the church dinner in 
Greenwich. Baldwin was. so deeply impressed with Willkie that 
he promised to' release the sixteen Connecticut delegates after 
the first ballot to. Willkie. On his side, Wilikie was so captivated 
by ffiJFdistinguished Governor that he promised to support him 
foj the yice-presid^ntial nomination. 

The tour of New England brought encouragement to the 
Willkie's supporters. Everywhere there had been enthusiastic 
crowds. Moreover, the tour had netted him some seventy-four 
votes, to be received after the first or second ballot. He was still 
without any commitments for the first ballot, the significance 
of which he was just beginning to see. Nevertheless, he returned 
to New York highly pleased. 

On June 18, Willkie made his first political speech to an 
audience in the state of New York. The occasion was a luncheon 
sponsored by the Young Republican Club of Brooklyn. The 
meeting had been arranged by Committeeman Simpson, who 
kept in mind the fact that Brooklyn contributed sixteen dele- 
gates out of the total of ninety-two for the entire state of New 
York. Willkie's candidacy in New York was hampered because 
New York already had two favorite sons, Thomas E. Dewey and 
Frank E. Gannett. But Willkie was dauntless. 

The Brooklyn speech came the day after France had asked 
Nazi Germany for peace terms. Accordingly, it was a speech to 
stay out of war and it won applause. As the reporters crowded 
around him after the address, one asked, "What do you think of 
your chances of becoming President?" 

"I feel very good," he replied, "and I am having a lot of fun." 

A reporter, quick on the uptake, asked if he were in it for fun. 

Willkie replied, "No, I wouldn't say that. I have a number 
of deep-seated beliefs and I have presented them to the public. 
Yes, I'd like to be President of the United States, wouldn't you?" 

The time approached for the opening of the Republican 
National Convention. On Saturday morning, June 22, Willkie 
took the train for Philadelphia. On the eve of the convention, 
fortune again smiled on him. Hugh Johnson had been persuaded 


to write an article about Willkie for the Saturday Evening Post. 
This article became the lead in its issue of June 22. It was 
excellent publicity. Most delegates going to the convention se- 
cured a copy of the Post to read on the train en route to Phila- 
delphia. Johnson, who had an eye for the dramatic, began his 
engaging article by quoting a Willkie statement: "I'm not run- 
ning for anything and I'm not running away from anything. 
But I would be a liar if I said I wouldn't like to be President 
or wouldn't accept a nomination." 


Campaign Strategy 

AT TWO O'CLOCK on Saturday afternoon, June 22, a New 
York train arrived at the Thirtieth Street Station in Philadel- 
phia. From it, Wendell Willkie stepped briskly to the platform. 
He was greeted by Representative Charles A. Halleck, Russell 
Davenport and half a dozen other Willkie supporters. A few 
newspaper reporters edged themselves forward into the group. 
As Willkie noticed the press men he said: "Ask me any damn 
thing in the world, and I'll answer it. Nothing is off the record. 
So shoot, ask anything you want." 

"Where is your entourage, your secretaries and staff?" one 
reporter promptly inquired. He had never seen a major candi- 
date arrive at a convention without a single companion. 

"I haven't any," Willkie replied. 

"Where are your headquarters?" persisted the reporter. 

"Under my hat," the candidate blithely retorted. 

When told of a rumored Dewey-Taft coalition to stop him, 
Willkie declared it was "a lot of bunk." He predicted that 
Philadelphia would witness a "wide-open convention" which 
would end in the nomination of a man named Willkie. His 



strength, he asserted, would increase rapidly after the first ballot. 
As to a suggestion that he might accept the vice-presidential 
nomination in a coalition of his own selection, he replied, "Poli- 
tics isn't a career with me, and if I can't win the presidential 
nomination I would just as soon go back to my old job." 

At the end of the frank, impromptu interview, Willkie and 
his friends crowded into an automobile which took them to the 
local headquarters of the Willkie Clubs in the Land Title 
Building. While he was inside the office a crowd of a .hundred 
persons had rapidly gathered around the door. A passing pedes- 
trian asked, "What's all the excitement?" 

"The next President of the United States is in that building," 
replied an enthusiastic bystander. "That's all, just the next 
President of the United States." 

When Willkie emerged from the building he received a spon- 
taneous ovation. Ever the showman, he now took the middle of 
the street, while the crowd fell in behind him. At the head of 
this improvised parade, he continued along Broad Street to- 
wards the national headquarters of the Willkie Clubs at the 
corner of Locust Street. More and more spectators joined the 
noisy throng as Willkie continued on his way. As the procession 
passed the Union League club, members of this staid institu- 
tion pressed to the open windows and gave the marchers a sedate 
cheer. It was a happy, uproarious parade, at times even rowdy 
and undignified. The crowd was pleased with Willkie, and 
Willkie was pleased with it. 

At the Root headquarters, which was on the ground floor, 
Willkie stood on a chair and waved his hat. The crowd cheered, 
the photographers' cameras flashed, and more people congre- 
gated. As the candidate left the headquarters, the crowd once 
again surged behind him and merrily continued back along 
Broad Street to the convention headquarters at the Bellevue- 
Stratford Hotel. 

The street was decorated with flags, waving from every win- 
dow and from every lamp post. Here and there perched a sym- 
bolic elephant of gaudy pasteboard. The City of Brotherly Love 
had been transformed into a city of Grand Old Party elephants. 
At convention headquarters, a large sign stretched across the 
street with giant letters, reading: 



And below these words, there floated in midair another majestic 

The jubilation of the paraders increased as the crowd neaared 
its destination. A loud burst of final hurrahs and cheers filled 
the air, as Willkie disappeared into the hotel. As soon as he 
stepped inside the crowded lobby he was recognized and given 
a resounding ovation. But without stopping, he proceeded 
straight towards the barroom. Willkie had no inhibitions about 
drinking even if he was a candidate for the presidency of. the 
United States. In the language of a Texas cowboy, "He bellied 
right up to the bar and said he would take a whiskey and soda.'* 
Bystanders swarmed after him into the bar, and soon a jostling 
crowd milled back and forth within the barroom. The crowd 
pressed close but Willkie, with his stalwart frame, stood, his 
stance without budging despite the shoving of eager admirers 
for a stand-in at the same bar. He drank his highball with relish. 
He wisecracked, drank another round, and wisecracked , some 
more. Everybody who could get near the bar also drank, and 
laughed, and drank some more. 

Finally Willkie shook hands all around. Eager hands. were 
thrust into his powerful grasp. Then the candidate left. In the 
lobby again, he was quickly surrounded. The chairman of the 
Oregon delegation, Walter Tooze, who was a Taft supporter, 
accosted him. A rough-and-tumble debate ensued, unique in 
convention history. 

"You answer all questions, Wendell," Tooze began, "so tell 
me what are your views on reciprocal trade treaties. They are 
poison to the voters of the Northwest." 

While the crowd pushed and justled from all sides, Willkie 

' explained that he believed after World War II every effort 

should be made to enlarge the area of American trade, but that 

for the present, the war had made the reciprocal trade treaties 


As Tooze turned away he half muttered that he had been 
given a run-around. Willkie wheeled at once and reached out 
through the crowd to grab hold of his challenger. Spinning him 


around, the candidate sternly exclaimed: "You said I gave you 
the run-around. I never gave anybody the run-around. I an- 
swered your question, but if I didn't satisfy you, I'll repeat." 

After the second explanation, Tooze remarked: "I didn't get 
the answer I wanted, but I've got to hand it to you, you're not 
afraid to talk up and say what you think." 

While Willkie was leaving the hotel, he was caught in a jam 
near the entrance. Someone asked what was his attitude towards 
aid to the Allies in their struggle with Hitler. Willkie replied 
that he favored all possible aid to the Allies without involving 
the United States. Amid cheers in response to this declaration, 
he made his way from the hotel. 

He then went up and down Broad Street, talking and shaking 
hands with everyone he met. Wherever he went he created a 
stir of excitement. 

For the most part the delegates had come to Philadelphia 
without enthusiasm. Listlessly, they stood around hotel lobbies. 
A heavy gloom pervaded the air. Even the skies were gray. The 
sober tones of the pre-convention scene was increased by the 
gloom of events in Europe. There was now no suspicion that 
Hitler's aggression was a "phony war" as William E. Borah had 
predicted. Denmark and Norway had been brought under Nazi 
occupation. Holland and Belgium had been invaded. The pros- 
perous city of Rotterdam was ruthlessly annihilated by artillery 
and bombs. The remnants of the defeated British Army was 
evacuated from Dunkirk under heavy gunfire. France had capit- 

Those tragic facts made isolation, long espoused by the Re- 
publican opposition, suddenly appear hopeless. Furthermore, 
every Republican knew that Franklin Delano Roosevelt would 
be the Democratic nominee. Defeatism, dullness and lethargy 
were noticeable in all the convention haunts. Then Wendell 
Willkie arrived in Philadelphia. Immediately, his personality 
won the city. The quiet calm was gone. A sparkling new hero 
had appeared, and the air became charged with his glowing 
vitality. He was spectacular, dramatic and compelling. Within 
twenty-four hours Willkie jokes were being told on every street 
comer and by every cab driver. He was the most talked-about 
man in town. The Taft headquarters was transformed overnight 


from a center of supreme confidence to one of obvious anxiety. 
The Willkie sentiment had assumed alarming proportions. 

During the course of the evening Willkie circled back to the 
Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. He saw James Watson, former Sena- 
tor from Indiana, John D. M. Hamilton, and several other big- 
wigs sitting together in the foyer. He barged into the group 
with complete assurance and said to Watson: "I understand you 
are not supporting me." 

"No," said Watson, "I am not!" 

"Well, as we are both from Indiana, I had hoped you would," 
Willkie replied with his broad, friendly smile. 

"I will tell you why," said the Senator with a stony glare. 
"You have been a Democrat all your life. I don't mind the 
church converting a whore, but I don't like her to lead the choir 
the first night!" 

Even Willkie was taken back by this expression of distrust 
and contempt. 

It was close to midnight on this boisterous Saturday before 
the inexhaustible Indianian was ready to seek seclusion in his 
hotel. He had spent a part of the evening in the small Willkie 
headquarters located in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. His wife 
had joined him, and she was now extremely fatigued. As the 
Willkies were leaving the hotel, Arthur Krock and Turner 
Catledge, of the New York Times, were about to enter. These 
distinguished newsmen had spent most of the evening at the 
National Committee headquarters and were now on their way 
to call upon Alf Landon, hoping to learn from the Kansas poli- 
tician to whom he might eventually swing his support. Willkie 
loudly called out to the newsmen to come along to his hotel. 
They readily accepted. When they arrived, they could hardly 
conceal their surprise. They had been perplexed earlier in the 
evening by the meagre and amateurish character of the Willkie 
headquarters in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. The living quar- 
ters of the candidate appeared no less unpretentious. The 
Willkie suite consisted of two small rooms. Mrs. Willkie at once 
sought rest. The men, in the outer room, mixed iceless drinks 
and began to talk. Krock asked the usual question as to how 
everything was going. Naively, Willkie replied that everything 
was going fine and that he had even received offers of unex- 


pected support. But to the direct question as to the choice o 
his floor leader, Willkie looked blank. Did he need a floor 
leader? he asked. What was such a person supposed to do? 

Krock attempted to enlighten his host. A candidate must have 
a floor leader supported by a committee on strategy. The com- 
mittee must work on the floor and off the floor among the dele- 
gates to win their votes. As the strength of top men like Dewey 
and Taft began to wane, then the Willkie strategists must cap- 
ture their votes. There were a number of "favorite sons" of 
various states who would release their delegates after the first or 
second ballot. His strategy committee must consist of alert and 
skillful party men who would know when such releases would 
come and be prepared to garner as many of the released votes 
as possible. These "accession" votes must come along on each 
new ballot. Furthermore, members of the strategy committee 
must act as political floorwalkers, roaming among the various 
delegations "plumping for Willkie." They must create a "band- 
wagon movement." Krock explained that the other contenders 
had been closely organized for months, with liaison men and 
women in every delegation. Even on the opening day of the 
convention, a profusion of undercover agents would be working 
on the floor for each of the leading candidates. 

Willkie sat amazed. He had no idea that nominations were 
handled in this fashion. His preparation for the convention had 
been limited to securing Charles A. Halleck to nominate him 
in the convention, and another Congressman, Bruce Barton, of 
New York, to second it. In his ignorance, he had felt confident 
that was enough. But as Krock and Catledge pointed out, Hal- 
leck was on the Resolutions Committee, which would engage 
all his attention during the early days of the convention. More- 
over, one man could not possibly handle the task of winning 
the nomination for a candidate. Only a strategy committee and 
a floor leader in addition to Halleck could accomplish the under- 

No false pride kept Willkie from learning of the ways of 
politicians from these astute newspapermen. Who, he asked, 
would make a good floor leader? Krock suggested that the ideal 
man would be Governor Raymond E. Baldwin, of Connecticut, 
himself a favorite son, and one of the most highly respected poli- 


ticians at the convention. It was a lucky suggestion, as Willkie 
had already been promised Governor Baldwin's support. He 
readily saw the advantage of Krock's suggestion and immediately 
declared he would ask Baldwin to select a strategy committee. 
Then Willkie asked about Harold Stassen. The Times men 
explained that inasmuch as he would be temporary chairman of 
the convention he could not engage in partisan politics until 
after he had fulfilled this conspicuous duty. 

It was now two o'clock in the morning. Catledge and Krock 
briefed the Wall Street candidate on a few other routine matters 
of politics and then departed. To Catledge, as the two newsmen 
left the hotel, Krock likened Willkie to a man who had set out 
on a mule to defeat a German panzer division, confident of his 
star, expecting that he needed nothing more than destiny to 
defeat the mechanized forces against him. Both men were doubt- 
ful whether so naive and unprepared a candidate could capture 
any considerable strength from the old-time leaders. On the 
other hand, both of them agreed that the very simplicity of 
Willkie might in the end operate to his advantage, especially 
if his candidacy should take on the character of a crusade. But 
whatever the outcome, the two newsmen agreed that Willkie 
was the most unusual politician on the Philadelphia scene. 

On the other hand, Willkie was not quite so unprepared as 
the newsmen suspected. Among the men committed to him were 
Hamilton, Pryor, Weeks, Weir, Simpson, Altschul, Talbott, 
Bridges, Vanderbilt and Baldwin. It was true, however, that no 
Willkie organization had been formed. Most observers blamed 
Halleck for this neglect. Some even surmised that the Hoosier 
Congressman had no intention of carrying the Willkie cam- 
paign to a finish. 

In the choice of headquarters and accommodations, presiden- 
tial candidates have seldom tended to be modest. The most pre- 
tentious quarters are thought to lend the impression to voters, 
newsmen and delegates that millions of citizens are clamoring 
to support the claims of the candidate. John D. M. Hamilton, 
the National Chairman, had taken the fifth floor of the Bellevue- 
Stratford Hotel as official headquarters for the National Com- 
mittee. The supporters of Thomas E. Dewey secured seventy- 
eight rooms at the Hotel Walton, and floated a large blue flag 


in front of the hotel with his name in white letters. The com- 
mittee for Senator Taft found adequate quarters in a collection 
of one hundred and two rooms at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. 
The committee for Senator Vandenberg engaged forty-eight 
rooms, most of them at the Adelphia Hotel. 

At the last moment, Wendell Willkie had secured two small 
rooms on the sixteenth floor of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. 
While the other candidates had their personal rooms adjoining 
or close to their headquarters, there was no space in the Willkie 
headquarters for his personal use. Russell Davenport had the 
idea that Willkie, in order to lessen the Wall Street stigma, 
should appear at the convention as a "poor man." So he had 
reserved the limited accommodations for his candidate at the 
Chancellor Hall. 

Harold Talbott and Charlton MacVeagh quietly secured from 
Samuel Pryor, chairman on Arrangements, the release of a beau- 
tiful suite of rooms at the Warwick Hotel. When Talbott ar- 
rived in Philadelphia on Sunday, June 23, he took upon himself, 
in the absence of both Edith and Wendell Willkie, the task of 
packing their belongings, including nightgowns, pajamas, tooth- 
brushes, linen and clothing, and forthwith moved their lodgings 
into the Hotel Warwick. This incident, small and homely, was 
the beginning of a long series of disagreements between Talbott 
and Davenport. In fact, by the end of the campaign, there were 
few of the inner circle around Willkie who were on speaking 
terms with the brilliant Davenport. His ideas, in the opinion 
of his colleagues, were poetic but rarely politic. On his side, 
with equal vigor, Davenport resented what he considered as the 
lack of vision on the part of his colleagues. 

On Sunday afternoon Willkie was the recipient of an almost 
undeserved stroke of fortune. In estimating the number of votes 
that Willkie would probably receive on the first ballot, Sam 
Pryor could discover no more than twenty-six, and among these 
there was not an entire delegation of any one state. Thus, he 
would trail behind not only Dewey, Taft and Vandenberg, but 
also behind almost every "favorite son." Pryor was convinced 
that Willkie could not move forward on the second and third 
ballots unless he showed greater strength on the opening ballot. 
To his mind, some "favorite son" must make the sacrifice for 


the good of the Grand Old Party, and no candidate could more 
easily do this than his friend, Governor Baldwin. The Connec- 
ticut Governor kindly consented to withdraw in favor of Willkie 
and immediately released the sixteen delegates from their pledge 
to himself. As a result, Connecticut voted as a unit for Willkie 
orLJthe J&rst ballot. 

In the meanwhile, Hamilton was concerned over the lack of 
organization on behalf of the Willkie candidacy and felt that 
Halleck had been inept in this matter. As chairman of the Re- 
publican National Committee, Hamilton was barred from active 
participation in the campaign of any candidate. Nevertheless, 
to secure at the eleventh hour some organization for Willkie, 
H^Utoa.arrajiged a. meeting of key Republicans in his private 
suite in the BeUevue=Stitf ord Hotel early, Sunday evening. It 
was necessary of course for Hamilton to be discreetly absent 
from this conclave. The guests at this unusual meeting included 
Sinclair Weeks, Kenneth Simpson, Governor Baldwin, Repre- 
sentative Halleck, who was expected to make the nomination 
speech for Willkie, Representative Bruce Barton, Walter Halla- 
nan, of West Virginia, and Rolland B. Marvin, the vigorous 
Mayor of Syracuse, who had been won to the support of Willkie 
scarcely an hour before the meeting. MacVeagh and Davenport 
were invited to represent the amateur politicans who favored 

This group agreed to serve as the strategy committee for 
Willkie. Accordingly, late on Sunday night, with pride and exul- 
tation, Willkie telephoned to Krock to inform him that he had 
won the support of Governor Baldwin and the Connecticut 
delegation and that a strategy committee had begun its task. 
Krock was not told, however, that Baldwin had been promised 
the vice-presidency. 

About midnight after this historic Sunday evening conclave, 
Hamilton routed Halleck out of bed and summoned the young 
Congressman to his official drawing room. Although Halleck 
had agreed to make the nominating speech, he had appeared so 
pessimistic about it that Hamilton wished to ease his mind 
about the probable success of his commitment. He sat Halleck 
down at a typewriter while he proceeded to break down dele- 
gate-voting strength, indicating the weaknesses of Taft, Dewey 


and Vandenberg and the growing strength of Willkie. At the 
end of this devastating analysis, Halleck was reassured that 
Willkie would sweep the convention on the third or fourth 

Important support began early to swing to the candidate. By 
Monday morning it was announced to the press that Governor 
Ralph L. Carr, of Colorado, had agreed to serve as one of 
Willkie's floor leaders. He was an important addition to the 
working forces of the candidate because of his western influence. 
Governor Vanderbilt, of Rhode Island, had already openly en- 
dorsed the candidate. Thus Willkie at the outset had enlisted 
three Republican governors on his strategy committee, each of 
them a responsible party leader. 

Willkie was also hopeful of securing the personable Harold 
Stassen on his team. The young Governor of Minnesota turned 
over the gavel of the convention to the permanent chairman, 
Joseph W. Martin, early on Tuesday afternoon. He was there- 
after free for any partisan activity he might choose. Up to this 
time, Stassen had made no formal commitment. However, in 
the ways of politics there had been a tacit understanding. The 
naming of the keynoter for the convention has long been con- 
sidered the prerogative of the National Chairman, and Hamil- 
ton chose Stassen. Although there was no outright commitment 
at the time of this appointment it was generally known to in- 
siders that Hamilton was for Willkie, so that the implications 
were clear. 

On Tuesday evening, therefore, after surrendering the gavel 
to the permanent chairman, Stassen made his perfunctory call 
upon Dewey and asked for his clarification on foreign issues, 
and then he made a similar call on Willkie. This gave him his 
opening for a statement. On Wednesday morning he called in 
the press and announced that he was supporting Wendell 
Willkie because of his clear views on foreign matters. Within 
the hour Willkie telephoned the Governor expressing his ap- 
preciation and formally asked him to be his floor manager. It 
was now Wednesday noon. From then on until after the Willkie 
nomination in the early dawn of Friday morning, Stassen gave 
all his attention to the Willkie campaign. 

Stassen secured a little office off the second-floor balcony of 


Convention Hall where the floor leaders could conveniently 
meet to co-ordinate their plans. This sanctuary was arranged by 
Samuel Pryor. Stassen chose twelve floor leaders. Among these 
were Governors Baldwin, Carr and Vanderbilt, Charles Halleck, 
Walter Hallanan and Sinclair Weeks. These twelve leaders 
fanned out into an organization o forty-eight members, one for 
each state. A state floor leader was not in all cases a member of 
that delegation. Stassen was compelled to use many of his own 
Minnesota delegates as floor leaders for states in which there 
was rio available Willkie worker. 

Sam Pryor was not a floor leader inasmuch as he had become 
chairman of the Committee on Arrangements upon the sudden 
death of Ralph E. Williams, of Oregon, six days before the 
convention opened. Immediately after the keynote speech, how- 
ever, Pryor felt himself released from a position of neutrality 
and thereupon openly declared himself a supporter of Willkie. 

Senator Styles Bridges, had his^pwn unique way of helping 
the Willkie boom. Circulating among the New England dele- 
gates, the "New Hampshire Senator extolled the virtues of Wen- 
dell Willkie. Rounding up a dozen delegates at one time, he 
would bring them to meet the new candidate. Willkie greeted 
these small contingents of possible supporters with all the 
warmth of his generous personality. On these occasions he never 
disappointed either Bridges or the delegates. Willkie was always 
at his best in small groups of politically-minded men and 
women. If the delegates wanted a speech, he gave them an en- 
gaging summary of his views from atop a chair. If they wished 
to ask questions, he responded with frank and comprehensive 
answers. This process of personal talks to groups of delegates, 
which began before the convention opened, continued through- 
out the sessions. Furthermore, by his scouting expedition early 
in the spring, Bridges had learned of key leaders throughout the 
West who were sympathetic to the Willkie candidacy. This in- 
formation proved of great help at the convention to the Weeks- 
Bridges-Simpson-Pryor team in soliciting western support 

The most spectacular feature of the Willkie boom and one 
which was criticized by some professional politicians, was the 
deluge of letters and telegrams received by the delegates. It had 
never happened before. Early in June, Talbott had suggested 


to Oren Root that the Willkie Clubs be instructed to have their 
members send letters and telegrams to the delegates at the con- 
vention demanding the nomination of Willkie. This maneuver 
brought five hundred thousand telegrams and letters to the 

Moreover, the amateurs at Philadelphia were also helpful in 
this matter, Talbott, Davenport and MacVeagh were joined by 
Harold J. Gallagher, a distinguished New York attorney. Gal- 
lagher's activity in the American Bar Association gave him an 
acquaintance with the leaders in state and local bar associations. 
To these people he telephoned asking them to get telegrams 
from their membership to the convention delegates urging the 
nomination of Willkie. 

Talbott himself sat for long hours at the telephone talking 
to businessmen he knew in all parts of the country asking them 
to get their employees to write and wire delegates concerning 
the Willkie candidacy. Every businessman he met in Philadel- 
phia he persuaded to do likewise. 

As a result, all the wires came from real persons and real 
places. It was all a simple stratagem. But the result was fantastic. 
Telegrams, letters, post cards, and petitions, were delivered by 
tens of thousands to the delegates. The messages reached them 
at Convention Hall, at their hotels, and at their headquarters. 
It was estimated that between Saturday and Tuesday night a 
million messages from all sections of the country, including 
those from the Willkie Clubs, had been received by the dele- 
gates in Philadelphia. The influence of these messages was en- 
hanced by the fact that the senders were frequently recognized 
as friends and neighbors as well as financial and industrial 
leaders in the home towns of the delegates. 

Like other delegates, Kenneth Simpson was amazed by the 
magnitude of his mail. He reported receiving more than one 
hundred thousand telegrams, letters and post cards. The letters 
varied from penciled scrawls on cheap paper to engraved let- 
terheads. "The sentiment in New York," he declared, "was 
overwhelmingly for Willkie." William F. Bleakley, county 
chairman of Westchester and head of the New York delegation 
said, "I have never seen anything like this. I have received 


thousands of letters, telegrams and petitions asking me to vote 
for the nomination of Willkie." 

By the time the convention doors swung open, three thou- 
sand jnemhers.. oL jtheJASllkie Clubs from around the country 
had arrived to watch the proceedings from the gallery and cheer 
their idol. Root made good use of them and hastily organized 
a battalion of young salesmen to "sell" Willkie to the delegates. 
They were instructed to interview as many of the delegates as 
possible, extolling the merits of their candidate. There was 
never a dull moment after that. Between sessions they were be- 
seiging delegates and during the proceedings they took every 
opportunity to chant, in college style, "We Want Willkie. We 
Want Willkie." All of this proved to be a devastating perform- 
ance, because it dramatized the import of the thousands of 
letters, telegrams, and petitions that the delegates were receiv- 
ing. The "Willkie Chorus" began at the first night session and 
continued throughout all the sessions. The remarkable demon- 
stration from the galleries that Talbott, Gallagher and Root 
prepared gave tremendous help to the strategy committee. This 
vast enthusiasm was expertly channeled by the professionals. 
They had to translate this aroused public opinion into delegates' 
votes. Conspicuously missing from the little group was Frank 
Altschul. Davenport had informed the banker it would be best 
if he returned to New York immediately, as his presence would 
only jeopardize Willkie's chance of nomination. Because Alt- 
schul was from Wall Street, Davenport feared the financier 
might elicit some bad publicity from the press. So Altschul 
obligingly left. 

The opposition was enraged when they beheld the growing 
success of the Willkie boom. The leading contenders and their 
vanguards had reassured each other that he lacked even a chance. 
He was an amateur. Now, before their eyes, they saw the in- 
credible happen. A Willkie strategy committee had developed 
overnight, composed of some of the most influential men in the 
convention. They saw delegates with popping eyes and stifled 
breath pore over the huge pile of mail asking for the Willkie 
nomination. Such proceedings were not to go unchallenged. 

The Taft and Dewey forces took bitter exception to the 


Willkie demonstrations. Each had worked for many months to 
develop well-knit organizations. The Taft forces struck with a 
vengeance. Colonel R. B. Creager, the Taft floor leader, Na- 
tional Committeeman from Texas, and a member of the Com- 
mittee on Arrangements, charged that the galleries were packed 
with Willkie supporters who led his demonstrations. He de- 
manded an investigation. Creager now accused Samuel Pryor, 
the chairman of the Committee on Arrangements and in charge 
of tickets, as being responsible for the packed galleries. Pryor, 
he declared, had perpetrated an outrage on the Republican 
Party, and he had done it for the purpose of aiding the nomina- 
tion of his candidate, Wendell Willkie. 

Pryor was too busy at the convention to make the obvious 
explanation. Tickets to the balconies were guarded as carefully 
as though they were crown jewels. The Committee on Arrange- 
ments had received the largest demand for tickets of any con- 
vention in history. All boxes had been removed so that "every- 
body would have the same kind of seats." Balcony seats were 
numbered. These were distributed to state delegations on a 
quota basis. 

Under such a system of quotas there could be no juggling of 
tickets. They were all apportioned to the states according to a 
definite plan. But the galleries were something different. There 
had been so little interest in recent years in Republican conven- 
tions that the galleries had for the most part been vacant. It was 
the plan of Pryor, therefore, to fill them up. Accordingly he 
gave orders to keep the doors to the galleries open until the 
safety capacity had been reached. 

David S. Ingalls, campaign manager for Taft, jibed at Willkie 
by saying that the next President should be a "Republican" as 
well as one experienced in the science of government. Mean- 
while, delegates had received through the mail and from an 
anonymous source, photostatic copies of election data purport- 
ing to show that Willkie was a registered Democrat in the years 
1934 to 1939. 

But the most organized effort to stop Willkie came from a 
group of Congressmen. A caucus -was. held_on the opening day 
of the convention to draft an appeal to the delegates to oppose 
the Willkie candidacy. Among those who attended the meeting 


were Representatives Brewster of Maine, Harold Knutson of 
Minnesota, B. Carroll Reece of Tennessee, John Robinson of 
Kentucky, Leo E. Allen of Illinois, Leonard Hall of New York, 
Frank Keefe of Wisconsin, Cliff Clevenger of Ohio, Arthur 
Jenks of New Hampshire, and Senators John Thomas of Idaho, 
and Charles McNary of Oregon. 

Senator Thomas declared that the nomination of Willkie 
would be fatal to the Republican Party and that he himself 
would not be a candidate for re-election as Senator if this New 
Yorker were nominated. Senator McNary stated that the dec- 
laration of these Congressmen represented the views of many 
Republicans of the West. He predicted that, the Willkie star 
would go down as rapidly as it had risen once the convention 
began to ballot. "The West," he declared, "will go against us if 
Willkie heads the ticket." Representative Stephen Bolles of 
Wisconsin remarked that if Willkie were the nominee, Wis- 
consin would be lost to the Republicans by a majority of one 
hundred thousand votes. The particular point at issue with 
these Congressmen was Willkie's support of the Hull reciprocal 
tanffand aid to European democracies in the war against Hitler. 
They were all high-tariff men; They were all isolationists. This 
movement of western Congressmen lost some of its sting by the 
prompt replies of Governor Ralph L. Carr of Colorado and 
other western Republicans who denied the existence of a west- 
ern revolt against Willkie. 

By Monday morning, Willkie's little headquarters in the 
Benjamin Franklin Hotel was swarming with pretty girls from 
the social world to answer the telephone, take messages, and 
run errands for delegates. Quite unprofessional, but effective! 
Every stunt was a new surprise which left the delegates gaping. 
Was this an old-time political convention or was it something 
new? What would happen next? Then the delegates began to 
find that suits received from the hotel valet had Willkie cam- 
paign literature in every pocket. One delegate found a Willkie 
brochure in his pajama pocket. Laundry packages were returned 
with "Vote for Willkie" stickers. All these devices conveyed 
the thought that he was a people's candidate. 

Such were the currents and cross currents of this strange 
political convention as it met on the twenty-fourth of June. 


William Allen White, with long years of political experience, 
observed it was a convention run "hog-wild." The reason for 
this was twofold. One was the peculiar antics of Willkie, which 
turned the convention topsy-turvy; the other was the indecision 
of the delegates on foreign policy. White stated that about 
seventy per cent of the delegates favored giving aid to Britain 
and the Allies. 

Thus the convention was torn apart by the divergent views on 
the issue of war and peace. It was generally conceded by the 
press that the appointment by President Roosevelt, June 20, of 
two distinguished Republicans to his Cabinet, Henry L. Stimson 
and Frank Knox as Secretary of War and Secretary of the 
Navy, emphasized the seriousness of the foreign situation. This 
strengthened the boom for Willkie. Yet the platform-makers 
were endeavoring to make the Republican Party the "peace 
party." Those who favored aid to the Allies were beginning to 
turn to Willkie; those who put their faith in isolationism were 
continuing to support Dewey or Taft. Furthermore, the collapse 
of France and the heartbreaking accounts of Dunkirk had made 
many delegates feel that the hour of crisis was at hand. 


The Philadelphia 

Convention of 1940 

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY includes many curious traditions. 
Not the least curious is the procedure of nominating candidates 
for President. In the age of George Washington, the Presidential 
Electors met in the state capitols to select the man who in their 
opinion had the best qualifications for the office. Today, in June 
or July of every fourth year, each of the two major political 
parties, in a huge convention of some one thousand delegates 
and an equal number of alternates, with an audience of ten to 
twenty thousand noisy spectators, amidst speeches, songs, march- 
ing, rowdy demonstrations, and secret conferences in hotel 
rooms, nominates a candidate who will thereupon become one 
of the two men between whom the American people will make 
their choice in the November elections. But even the election 
is obscured by legal fictions. Instead of voting for a President 
directly, the voters are compelled to vote for lists of Presidential 
Electors who are pledged to cast their ballots for this or that 
candidate, without any constitutional redress in case the Elec- 
tors violate their pledge. 

The process is democratic and autocratic. It contradicts itself. 



It baffles reason. It defies logic. It invites the criticism of philos- 
ophers. It confuses European observers. It seems the negation 
of systematic representation. Nevertheless, it is American de- 

The twenty-second convention of the Republican Party met 
in Philadelphia on Monday morning, June 24, 1940. The two 
thousand delegates and alternates and the fifteen thousand spec- 
tators sitting in Convention Hall made an impressive sight. All 
of the delegates and most of the spectators were aware of the 
historic importance of the meeting. The excitement was intense. 
The air was full of great expectations. The urge for action was 

Banging his gavel with vigorous strokes, handsome John 
Hamilton, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, 
declared the convention in session. The vast audience arose for 
the impressive singing of the hymn "America." The Reverend 
Dr. Albeit Joseph McCartney, pastor of the Covenant-First 
Presbyterian Church, of Washington, B.C., then gave the invo- 
cation. After the "Call for the Convention" was read, there was 
the election of temporary officers. In accordance with custom 
the temporary chairman is considered "patronage" of the na- 
tional chairman of the party, so that election is merely a con- 
firmation of his choice. The selection of Harold E. Stassen had 
been arranged some weeks earlier and now he was chosen by 
acclamation. The brief second session which convened at four- 
thirty o'clock was significant chiefly because of the address given 
by Chairman John Hamilton on "Americanism and Patriotism." 

The decorations of the hall created a unique and impressive 
atmosphere. Flags of the nation and flags of the states hung from 
the roof of the hall in a glowing mixture of red, yellow, green 
and blue. Around the balcony were the colorful shields of the 
states with large gold spread eagles spaced between them. These 
emblems shone and glistened in a soft, indirect light. On the 
floor were the standards of the delegations each bearing the 
name of the state. Atop each standard was a gray elephant with 
an American flag in his rolled-up trunk. 

The dramatic third session of the convention came on Mon- 
day night when the gavel sounded at ten o'clock. Samuel Pryor 
had planned the staging of the evening program to achieve a 


cathedral-like effect. The states' shields around the balcony 
stood out almost like stained glass. As soon as Chairman Hamil- 
ton called the convention to order, the lights were dimmed, and 
a blue spotlight flodded the platform. 

Into that blue light stepped His Eminence, Cardinal 
Dougherty. The scarlet robes o the Prince of the Church re- 
flected the blue light so that he stood there as if enveloped in 
an aura. A hush fell over the vast audience, while the Cardinal 
invoked divine guidance for the convention: "Inspire the As- 
sembly to a high resolve to perpetuate the blessings of liberty, 
based on equal justice and right." 

The spirit thus created was continued by a cantata, the 
"Ballad for Americans." The Philadelphia Orchestra played 
the score, and the Lynn Murray Chorus from New York sang the 
parts with Ray Middleton as baritone soloist. The theme of the 
musical epic was liberty, based upon four peaks in American 
history: the Revolution, the growth of the Union, the Civil War, 
and the Machine Age. Through the cantata ran the "Voice of 

"Did they all believe in Liberty in those days?" 


"Nobody who was anybody believed it. 
Everybody who was anybody 

They doubted it. 
Nobody had faith, 
Nobody, nobody but Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin 

Franklin, and Lafayette."* 

This stirring chorus, first sung over the Columbia Broadcast- 
ing System in November, 1939, and written by John Latouche 
with music by Earl Robinson, created a sensation in Convention 
Hall. The rendition took fifteen minutes and was given at a 
cost of eight thousand dollars. It was money well spent. The 

* Ballad for Americans, Text by John Latouche, Music by Earl Robinson. Copy- 
right 1940 Robbins Music Corporation. Used by Special Permission Copyright 


cantata keyed the audience to a high pitch of patriotic fervor. 
In the midst of this spiritualized setting, Governor Stassen was 
now escorted to the platform, where he was received by Chair- 
man Hamilton. Presented to the delegates as the temporary 
chairman, he at once began his keynote address, developing the 
theme of liberty in the Latouche aria: "Our forefathers created 
here a great lighthouse of liberty. They showed a new way for 
men to live." Although Willkie's name was never mentioned, 
the speech was well calculated to extol the kind of liberty that 
Willkie epitomized. Indeed, the staging of the convention had 
been built around Willkie and his spectacular battle for liberty, 
freedom, and individualism. Hamilton and Pryor, working 
together, had produced the atmosphere for the Willkie nomina- 
tion. Stassen now carried the campaign forward with his effec- 
tive keynote address. 

It was not until Wednesday afternoon that the convention 
adopted the party platform and was ready to turn to the supreme 
event for which it had been called the nomination of a can- 
didate for the presidency. In time-honored fashion, the secre- 
tary of the convention called the roll of the states in alphabetical 

"Alabama/' intoned the secretary. 

"Alabama by a vote of seven to six yields to the State of New 
York," cried the chairman of the Alabama delegation in a jerky 
voice, barely heard by the galleries. 

"Arizona," again intoned the secretary. 

"Arizona yields to New York," responded the chairman of 
the Arizona delegation. 

"Arkansas," continued the secretary with the rollcall. 

"Arkansas by unanimous vote yields to Ohio," declared the 

The roll call thus proceeded to Wisconsin and Wyoming at 
the end. By courtesy of Alabama in yielding to New York, 
Thomas E. Dewey was the first candidate to be nominated, fol- 
lowed by Frank E. Gannett and Robert A. Taft. The interven- 
ing states of the roll prior to Indiana passed, which made Will- 
kie fourth in the order of nomination. 

Until the last moment, no one really knew who was going to 
place Willkie's name in nomination. Since the meeting with 


Hamilton Sunday night, Halleck had wavered again. He had 
been so uncertain whether he would or would not make the 
nomination speech that no one had any confidence in what 
might happen. Riding to Convention Hall that evening with 
John B. Hollister, of Cincinnati, a law partner of Robert A. 
Taft, Halleck was extremely nervous and doubtful as to what 
he should do. If Willkie turned out to be an unpopular can- 
didate in the convention, Halleck wanted no part of his nomina- 
tion. Even Hollister did not know what his companion would 
do when the hour struck. All Willkie men were filled with 
gloomy foreboding when, in the rollcall of states for presidential 
nominations, Indiana passed. But at the conclusion of the roll- 
call, the chairman of the state delegation arose to say: "Indiana 
wishes to change her pass in order at the appropriate time to 
place in nomination the name of Wendell Willkie." It was not, 
however, until they saw Halleck step onto the platform that 
Willkie's supporters had any assurance that he would go through 
with the nomination. 

When Chairman Martin introduced Halleck to make the 
nominating speech, some of the delegates began to boo. At this 
moment occurred a simple stage device that saved the day for 
Willkie. Chairman Martin quickly put an arm around Halleck, 
and raised the other arm for silence. It was a kind and lovable 
act which seemed to say: "He is one of my boys, now be good to 
him!" The boos stopped. The beginning of the speech was not 
auspicious. The address had been prepared by Russell Daven- 
port, and, although it was well read, it fell flat. But the worst 
was yet to come. Halleck had made no arrangement with the 
Indiana delegation for a demonstration following the nominat- 
ing speech. 

At the end of a nominating speech it is customary for the dele- 
gation of the home state of the nominee to raise its banners and 
to start a procession around the convention hall. Other delega- 
tions as well as delegates and alternates from divided delegations, 
then join the parade. This demonstration, which will sometimes 
continue for fifteen, twenty or even thirty minutes, is supposed 
to indicate the degree of popularity of the nominee. 

Halleck concluded his nominating speech at 10:20 that eve- 
ning. Thereupon, wild cheering poured down from the galleries 


upon the impassive delegates. But, on the floor of the conven- 
tion, no one moved. Not even the Indiana delegation lifted its 
banner to honor the boy from Elwood. Then suddenly the New 
York state banner was seen violently to wave back and forth. 
The attention of the vast auditorium was attracted to the scene. 
Spectators beheld a strange sight. The 220-pound figure of the 
Mayor of Syracuse, Holland B. Marvin, was engaged in a struggle 
to wrest the New York banner from five Dewey men who were 
desperately clutching it. Marvin seemed about to be over- 
powered when Senator Frederic R. Coudert, Jr., and several 
other Willkie delegates jumped to his assistance. A general 
scuffle ensued. Twenty thousand people excitedly watched the 
outcome. Then Marvin, like a fullback breaking through the 
scrimmage line, burst clear of his adversaries and started the 
Willkie parade around Convention Hall. 

Senator Coudert and a few other New Yorkers followed. The 
huge organ struck up. The banners of a dozen delegations now 
belatedly began to move, and almost timidly fell into line with 
the paraders. Thirteen times Marvin passed in front of the New 
York delegation, and each time a fight ensued as the Deweyites, 
who constituted a strong majority of the delegation, attempted 
to recapture the New York standard. But the husky Marvin was 
more than a match for them. For twenty minutes the demonstra- 
tion continued. Then as the paraders subsided, Mayor Marvin 
dutifully and carefully returned the banner to its standard at the 
head of the New York delegation. 

The heavy banging of the gavel by Chairman Martin had con- 
tinued during the demonstration. As the paraders took their 
seats, the galleries slowly subsided. The chair was ready to 
recognize delegates for seconding speeches. Four speeches were 
permitted. Willkie had arranged for only two. Stassen wisely 
chose a third, a woman from his own delegation. This selection 
recognized the women voters and again gave emphasis to the 
Middle West. The seconding speakers followed in rapid suc- 
cession: Bruce Barton, of New York; Miss Ann Stuart, of 
Minnesota, and Governor Raymond Baldwin, of Connecticut. 
This ended the third day. Motion for adjournment came 
quickly. The delegates left the hall with the Willkie cheers of 
the galleries ringing in their ears. 


The balloting upon the candidates began late Thursday after- 
noon. Although the floor leaders of other candidates had been 
at work for months before the convention convened, none 
possessed in the same degree the nimble ability of Stassen to 
find a few votes here and there with which to swell the total 
for his candidate. The well-timed accession of votes as the 
"favorite sons" began to release their delegations, and the final 
triumphant pyramiding of votes on the fourth and fifth ballots, 
were largely due to the superb leadership of the young Governor. 

Nomination required a majority vote of the 1,000 delegates, or 
501 votes. On the first ballot, Dewey received, as had been ex- 
pected, the largest number of votes, although considerably less 
than the number he had repeatedly claimed. His vote was 360. 
Taft scored second with 189 votes, Willkie third with 105. The 
next closest was Vandenberg with 76. On the first ballot, Con- 
necticut was the only state to cast her entire strength for Willkie, 
and it was also the only state to cast as many as 16 votes for him. 
The balance of the 105 Willkie votes came mostly in dribbling 
ones, twos and threes from individual delegates who had bolted 
from their delegations. 

Stassen's technique was first to deflect votes from Dewey re- 
gardless of where they were accredited, and then to show an 
increase for his candidate on each ballot. For this purpose he 
helcL in reserve some twenty to thirty votes on the first five 
ballots. He well knew that the psychological effect of loss of 
strength on any ballot is demoralizing. It suggests that one's 
boom had passed the peak and that one's candidacy is now 
finished. On the other hand a steady accession of votes creates a 
bandwagon effect. One of the startling surprises of the Philadel- 
phia Convention was the ease with which the Taft and Willkie 
forces made raids on the Dewey delegates. After the first ballot, 
the strength of the New York delegation was greatly reduced, 
and the Dewey organization collapsed. If Dewey had promptly 
released his delegation to Taft, the victory would have gone to 
the^Ohioan. But Dewey delayed and did not send word to Taft 
o his support until after the third ballot. By this time the band- 
wagon movement for Willkie was already started. 

As each roll call of states was taken, the Willkie floor leaders 
scurried among the delegates endeavoring to persuade wavering 















Indiana ... 


Kentucky ........ 

Louisiana ........ 

Maine ........... 

Maryland ........ 

Michigan ........ 

Minnesota ....... 

Mississippi ....... 

Missouri ......... 

Montana ......... 

Nebraska ........ 

Nevada .......... 

New Hampshire . . 
New Jersey ....... 

New Mexico ...... 

New York ........ 

North Carolina . . . 
North Dakota ____ 

Ohio ............ 

Oklahoma ....... 

Oregon .......... 

Pennsylvania ..... 

Rhode Island ____ 

South Carolina . . . 
South Dakota ____ 

Tennessee . , ..... 

Texas ........... 

Utah ............ 

Vermont ......... 

Virginia ......... 

Washington ...... 

West Virginia ____ 

Wisconsin ........ 

Wyoming ........ 

Alaska ........... 

Dist. of Columbia . 
Hawaii .......... 

Philippine Islands 
Puerto Rico ...... 

TOTALS ..... 


of Votes 




4 . 














B f 


9 m 






, B 


B m 



















. . 





































, , 


. . 

b 6 
















-" 10 

8 3L 






t , 






. . 






13 M 

i 27 





5 ' 

i" is 

























































delegates to deliver their votes to Willkie. This was a grueling 
assignment, but these lieutenants were faithful to their task as 
the long evening hours wore on. Illinois was one of the first dele- 
gations to respond to the Willkie strategists, in spite of the op- 
position of Robert R. McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. 

After the third ballot, Governor Baldwin went to Joseph N. 
Pew, Jr., boss of the 72 votes of Pennsylvania, seeking to engage 
his support. Pew was not unfavorable to Willkie but he was com- 
mitted to Governor Arthur H. James, the "favorite son" of his 
state. James clung tenaciously to the hope that Dewey, Taft, 
and Willkie would deadlock the convention, in which case he 
might become the compromise candidate. Baldwin told Pew 
that James had no chance whatsoever and that the present 
moment was the time to support Willkie. But shipbuilder Pew 
was a man of tough fibre and remained loyal to his hopeless 
commitment. When Baldwin reported the situation to the 
strategy committee as the members met in a huddle in the little 
office, Willkie exploded in disgust and said impetuously, "Pew 
be damnedl" 

On the fourth ballot, the Willkie victory was within reach. 
Success seemed assured when Kansas then shifted to the Willkie 
column. Chairman of the Kansas delegation was Alfred M. 
Landon, who had met Willkie and Pryor at Greenwich in the 
latter part of May. Although the Kansas vote was placed on 
Capper on the early ballots, Landon was known to be friendly 
towards Willkie. Stassen had been talking to Landon off and 
on and he made his final plea just before the fifth ballot. There 
was so much noise on the floor of the convention that Stassen 
tried to find a quiet place to talk. Finally, in exasperation, he 
chose the freight elevator. Stationing policemen at the top and 
bottom doors, he and Landon rode undisturbed, up and down. 
Finally, Landon agreed to cast the entire 18 votes of Kansas for 
Willkie. Whether the decision was due to the persuasive logic 
of Stassen or to the monotony of riding the freight elevator 
neither participant disclosed. 

On the fifth ballot, Vandenberg of Michigan dropped to 42 
votes. At the conclusion of the count, the word spread that 
Vandenberg was going to release his delegation without instruc- 
tions. Thus, as the roll call of states began for the sixth ballot, 


the Michigan delegation was in caucus. The Willkie floor 
leaders had anticipated such a move and had long been in con- 
tact with various Michigan delegates. Stassen now realized that 
he must stall the roll call long enough to give Michigan the 
opportunity to complete her poll of delegates before she was 
called on to cast her ballot. Therefore, he sent word to Leo E. 
Anderson, leader of the California delegation and one of 
Stassen's twelve floor leaders, to delay proceedings by the time- 
honored trick of calling for a poll of his delegation. Thus, when 
the secretary of the convention called, "California," Charles H. 
Segerstrom addressed the chair and asked that the California 
delegation be polled. Amid the grumbling of many delegates 
and the surprise of the California delegation, the chairman so 
ordered. There were forty-four delegates. By the time the poll 
had been completed, Michigan had completed her caucus. 


1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 

Dewey 360 338 315 250 57 

Taft 189 203 212 254 377 

Vandenberg 76 73 72 61 42 

Willkie 105 171 259 306 429 

In the meantime much had happened. Hamilton, as National 
Chairman, and Pryor, as chairman in charge of Arrangements, 
had desks on the speakers' platform not far from each other, 
which were also connected by telephone. The signal of these 
telephones was not the usual bell, but a small electric light. The 
two men were thus able to keep in constant touch without any- 
one's realizing that they were in conversation. Hamilton knew 
better than his colleagues which delegates might switch votes 
and about when each was ready to "break." During the early 
rounds of balloting, Hamilton was frequently instructing Pryor 
to go to the floor to see such-and-such a person as he believed 
him to be weakening and ready to be persuaded for the Willkie 
switch. Thus did Hamilton and Pryor give Stassen invaluable 
support in his floor strategy. 

The real break in the line-up of candidates came from 
Michigan, which had been well groomed to turn to Taft. Hamil- 
ton, by his quick strategy, prevented such a turn of events. The 


episode was eloquent proof of the adage that political bosses 
never forget a political obligation. During the 1936 campaign 
Frank McKay, of Michigan, had asked Hamilton to do some- 
thing about the bad publicity he was receiving from the Hearst 
newspapers. When Hamilton actually accomplished this feat, he 
earned the gratitude of the Michigan boss. Therewith, McKay 
promised to give aid when called upon. "You have a large credit 
in my bank," he told Hamilton. Now after the third ballot, in 
the 1940 Convention, Hamilton decided it was time to make use 
of this credit, and so he sought out McKay and told him he 
wanted the Michigan votes for Willkie as soon as Vandenberg 
released the delegation. "But," replied the Michigan politician, 
"I am in a hell of a fix. Mrs. Vandenberg has just sent me a note 
saying to turn the votes over to Bob Taft." 

"Well," said Hamilton, "that is just too bad. But I have to 
have those votes. You owe me a great deal more than you owe 
the Senator's wife." 

The reminder of a political obligation was effective. McKay 
agreed to deliver the votes. Hamilton next went to his friend, 
Joseph N. Pew, Jr. He asked for a switch to Willkie on the next 
ballot. "The limb will be sawed off behind you if you don't 
come in on the next vote," he predicted. 

"Tell that to Governor James/* said Pew dourly. So Hamilton 
sought out James and asked that he release his delegation at 
once. But the little Welsh Governor stubbornly refused. "Well," 
snapped Hamilton, "you are putting the best friend you ever 
had through the wringer." In this, of course, he referred to Pew 
who was keeping his word to support James until released. It was 
generally known that Pew was for Willkie after his initial sup- 
port to the "favorite son" of Pennsylvania. 

Back on the platform, Hamilton was surprised to find that 
McKay was awaiting him with two of the local bosses. Time was 
running out too rapidly for McKay to be loitering. However, 
they wanted to know whether in case the Michigan delegation 
swung to Willkie the Republican organization could name the 
federal judges in the state or if the Willkie Clubs would have 
this patronage. "That," said Hamilton, "I could not answer. 
Only Willkie himself could make that pledge." So he took the 
three Michigan boys to Pryor's desk, requesting him to tele- 


phone Willkie at his hotel room. To the amazement of Hamil- 
ton, Willkie readily agreed that McKay and the Republican 
state leaders should choose the judges. This promise clinched 
the Michigan vote. Although an experienced politician, Hamil- 
ton was shocked that any candidate would bargain with the 
federal judgeships. In the mad rush of convention business, he 
had little time or disposition for reflection. But even so, the sug- 
gestion came to mind that Willkie's inexperience in politics was 
responsible for this extraordinary commitment to the Michigan 

Thus, when the secretary of the convention read the name 
"Michigan," Governor Dickinson of that state, arose to ask 
that one of his delegates, Howard C. Lawrence, be permitted to 
go to the platform to make an announcement. From the ros- 
trum, Lawrence announced that Senator Vandenberg had au- 
thorized the release of his delegates and that after taking a cau- 
cus, the Michigan vote stood, Hoover 1, Taft 2 and Willkie 35. 
A great roar of mingled delight and disgust greeted this an- 
nouncement. After Kansas and Michigan had swung to Willkie, 
Stassen sent word to his floor leaders to report all votes on the 
sixth ballot as he was ready for the grand slam. 

Meanwhile, the galleries had resumed the chant: "We Want 
Willkie! We Want Willkie! We Want Willkie!" After the fifth 
ballot they were wild with glee. At this point a slender and 
graceful woman wearing dark glasses and a large hat slipped 
quietly out of her seat in the gallery and left the seething audi- 
torium unobserved. It was Edith Willkie. Confident that the 
long hours of uncertainty were over, she decided to return to 
the Warwick Hotel. All during the balloting she had sat there 
unnoticed, taut and nervous, as she witnessed the excitement 
about her. The atmosphere was vibrant with the demand of the 
galleries for Willkie. She was now confident that her husband 
would win the unanimous vote of the convention. 

She returned to the Hotel Warwick and found her husband 
alone. One brief spontaneous moment of embrace they had in 
joyous recognition that the victory was won. In a few seconds, 
a crowd of news reporters had closed around them. The press 
had taken for granted that the next ballot would decide the 


nomination and the newsmen were anxious to get a statement 
for the early editions of their papers. 

With the departure of the press to make the morning head- 
lines, the Willkies settled down comfortably to await the con- 
gratulatory visits of their friends. To their chagrin, no one came. 
Well after midnight, they telephoned a few of their close friends 
to ask a little wistfully: "Aren't you coming over to see us?" 
Only then did they learn the amazing truth. The police and 
the hotel employees had established a line of protection around 
the Willkie suite. No visitor was able to get past that line. The 
most important bigwig, the most ardent personal friend, as well 
as the merely curious, had all been turned away. The faithful 
police who had been assigned to "guard" the Willkie apartment 
interpreted their orders to mean "solitary seclusion." 

Meanwhile, at the Convention Hall, the roll of states was in 
progress for the sixth ballot. The voting led to a tumultuous 
victory. After the Michigan announcement, as the swing towards 
Willkie became increasingly apparent, state after state "hopped 
on the bandwagon." One such state was Pennsylvania with her 
big block of 72 votes. On the sixth ballot, the spokesman for 
the delegation announced, "Pennsylvania passes temporarily." 
By the time the clerk read the name of Virginia which declared 
16 of her 18 votes for Willkie, David A. Reed, of Pennsylvania, 
successfully interrupted the roll call and secured recognition. 
His voice, zooming through the hall over the floor microphone, 
was heard to announce: "Mr. Chairman, Pennsylvania casts her 
seventy-two votes for Wendell Willkie." It was a dramatic state- 
ment. The galleries exploded with enthusiastic shouts. The 
chairman banged his gavel for order, but order was slow in 

At last, Governor Bricker, of Ohio, gained recognition and 
moved that the nomination of Wendell Willkie for President 
be made unanimous. Again, great applause and hilarious cries of 
jubilation spread through the auditorium. With difficulty, the 
chairman restored order. He immediately ruled that he was 
unable to recognize Governor Bricker at that time for such a 
motion, but would do so after the roll call had been completed. 
The Governor, however, could change Ohio's vote for 52 for 
Taft to 52 for Willkie, the chairman explained. Governor 


Bricker sat down. The chairman then directed the secretary to 
continue the roll call of the states. 

A few minutes later, several states followed the example of 
Pennsylvania by casting a unanimous vote for Willkie. Maine 
and Nebraska had passed, but now were ready to declare their 
vote. Colonel Creager, of Texas, the same leader who several 
days earlier had led the fiery attack upon the Willkie forces for 
"packing the galleries," announced that Texas wished to change 
her 26 votes from Taft to Willkie. This was followed by the 
spokesman of the Washington delegation who declared that his 
state cast all 16 votes for Willkie. 

The great landslide of votes came at the conclusion of the 
roll call when twenty-five states with a total of 570 votes an- 
nounced in rapid succession a unanimous vote of their delega- 
tion for Willkie. Not all of these votes were additional votes 
inasmuch as many of the delegations, on previous ballots, had 
given a portion of their votes to Willkie. For example, New York 
had given him 75 votes on the fifth ballot; the state delegation 
now cast its entire 92 votes for the man of the hour. It was a 
thrilling scene. The men who had fought him bitterly, the men 
who had held their delegations under rigid control, suddenly 
announced support for Wendell Willkie. It was a rolling, 
omnipotent tide of sentiment that swept away all opposition. 
The final result of the sixth ballot was 998 for Willkie with two 
delegates absent. 

Great and prolonged cheering broke out. The galleries had 
waited anxious hours for this moment of victory. They would 
not be stilled. Again and again, the chairman pounded his gavel 
for order. The shouting continued. Thousands of spectators had 
come to Philadelphia to see Willkie nominated. They intended 
to enjoy to the full this magnificent vindication of their con- 
fidence in a new leader. It was their show. Each Willkie fan 
felt that somehow he had contributed to this final triumph, and 
each wanted to share in the crowning glory of his nomination. 

Finally, with a semblance of quiet restored, the chairman 
recognized Governor Bricker. With a smile, the Ohioan said: 
"The motion I desired to make, now seems to be in order, but 
unnecessary. At any rate, Ohio moves that the nomination of 
Wendell Willkie for President be made unanimous/' The mo- 


tion was promptly seconded by Russell Sprague on behalf of 
the Dewey Republicans of New York. Several others also made 
short seconding speeches, among them Governor James, of 
Pennsylvania. The chairman put the question for a unanimous 
nomination, and as there was no dissenting voice, he declared it 
a vote. 

A generous message from Herbert Hoover to Willkie was read 
to the convention by the chairman: "My congratulations," said 
the former Republican President. "The result of a free conven- 
tion of a free people will carry you to victory." This was fol- 
lowed by the announcement of a telephone message from Will- 
kie expressing his appreciation of the loyalty and support of the 
delegates to his candidacy. The hour was now 1:57 on Friday 
morning. It was a frazzled and exhausted convention. Stassen, 
probably the most exhausted man in all Philadelphia, moved a 
recess until the following afternoon. 

The nomination of Wendell Willkie was acclaimed by the 
press as the most revolutionary action in Republican politics 
since Lincoln was chosen in 1860. A vivid new personality had 
swept aside the experienced leadership in the convention of such 
men as Taf t, Dewey, and Vandenberg. It was a most spectacular 
legerdemain. There has never been anything like it before and 
as Harold Stassen said there would never be another like it again. 
That Willkie should catch the popular imagination was not sur- 
prising, but that he could translate a sudden "grass roots" move- 
ment into the hard reality of delegates' votes seemed sheer 
fantasy. It was one of those episodes which lend glamour if not 
logic to American politics. Yet the nomination was highly 
prophetic. It forecast the future program of the Republican 
Party. It reversed the Republican policy of isolationism. It con- 
noted aid to the Allies and especially succor to England for 
the Battle of Britain. It meant Republican support for foreign 
trade and lowering of the tariff barriers. It also meant a rein- 
terpretation by the Republican Party of the meaning of free 
enterprise. It was the Republicans' answer to the New Deal. 

The triumph of Willkie at the convention was an amazing 
synchronization of the efforts of the amateur and the professional 
politician. It was unfortunate for both groups, however, that 
many of the amateurs discounted the performance of the ex- 


perienced floor workers. As soon as the nomination was won, 
most of these newcomers to politics took to themselves all the 
glory of the victory. They seemed to think that they had put- 
smarted the convention, that they had shouted the delegates into 
a stampede. The dramatic fanfare of popular support was ex- 
ceedingly helpful, but by itself it would have been dissipated 
like summer clouds. To accelerate the vote, ballot by ballot, re- 
quired the most careful strategy by experienced manipulators of 
political events. The cockiness of the amateurs boded ill for the 
future. With the nomination assured, intoxicated with their 
success, they believed themselves to be possessed of more poli- 
tical wisdom than the professional politicians. 

The hours following the adjournment of the convention early 
Friday morning, with the rush of politicians to the Willkie 
suite after the barricade was broken, gave the candidate little 
time for reflection. Although utterly weary, Willkie was com- 
pelled to hold a conference on the selection of the Republican 
candidate for Vice-President. According to time-honored cus- 
tom, the nominee for President is usually consulted on the 
question of the candidates for the vice-presidency. Advisers of 
Willkie now declared that Baldwin to whom Willkie was 
pledged would draw little support to the national ticket and 
might even do it harm. In the public mind, they said, Willkie 
was identified with New York, rather than Indiana. Accordingly, 
his ticket would be immeasurably strengthened by securing a 
running-mate like Senator Charles L. McNary, of Oregon, who 
came from a state almost as far from Wall Street as a state could 
possibly be. 

Willkie admitted the cogency of their arguments. Perhaps he 
could secure release from his commitment to Baldwin. Sam 
Pryor had just fallen asleep after returning to his room from 
the all-night nominating session. Willkie telephoned him to 
come to his room immediately. Perplexed as to the sudden 
urgency, Pryor hurriedly dressed and came. Willkie explained 
the pressure now placed upon him to choose a running-mate 
from the West. He said he recognized his commitment to Bald- 
win but that he "just couldn't hold to it." Therefore, he asked 
Pryor to see Baldwin and explain the situation to him. 

"No/' said Pryor emphatically, "I won't do that. But I am 


certain that if you put the matter straight to Baldwin, as you 
have to me, he will withdraw of his own accord. He is just that 
kind of a man." Pryor urged that Willkie telephone Baldwin 
at once and ask him to come to the hotel. When Baldwin ar- 
rived, a few minutes later, Willkie explained in honest and 
eloquent fashion, of which he was a master, his predicament. 
The stalwart Baldwin took this major disappointment in stride, 
and promptly replied that he would not only withdraw his 
name, but also would make the nominating speech for the man 
selected. This was the second time that Baldwin had been 
sacrificed for Willkie. On both occasions he withdrew with a 
smile and with no recriminations. 

After Baldwin departed, Willkie canvassed with Pryor the 
advantages and disadvantages of selecting Senator McNary 
as his running-mate. The Senator from Oregon was leader of 
the Republican Party in the upper house of Congress. His 
nomination would appeal to the agricultural West and would 
also cement cordial relations with the isolationist Republicans 
in the Senate. Furthermore, it would effectively dissolve the 
initial opposition to Willkie of which McNary had been a part. 
Pryor agreed to the choice, although with misgivings- Other 
loyal supporters, such as Styles Bridges, likewise felt that this 
selection was unfortunate. 

The next question was to decide who should ask McNary. 
Pryor suggested Joe Martin. Another telephone call aroused 
another sleeping politician. When the situation was explained 
to him, he readily agreed to telephone McNary, who had re- 
turned to Washington. In view of McNary's slashing attacks 
upon Willkie only a few days previously, there was consider- 
able doubt among the three whether he would accept; he held 
diametrically opposed views to those of Willkie on the two 
biggest issues of the campaign. But Willkie and his friends need 
not have been concerned. Martin had hardly put the question to 
the Senator before he replied: "Yes, yes, indeed, I will accept the 

This was the first blunder of the campaign, in which there 
were to be so many. Thoughtful voters were highly critical of 
such a team as Willkie and McNary. It was an obvious trick, to 
appeal to internationalists and to isolationists at the same time, 


to those who believed in the free enterprise system and those 
who relished at least a little government planning. At the same 
time, the choice was a laudable effort to heal the breach between 
Willkie and the congressional leaders. 

Friday, June 28, marked the beginning of the political career 
of Wendell Willkie. In the American tradition, that career 
included his wife as well as himself. Edith Willkie was not a 
woman to shirk her responsibility. On that very morning she 
held her first press conference in the Blue Room of the Hotel 
Warwick. The shy Indiana girl who only the day before had 
successfully disguised herself and sat alone in the gallery of 
Convention Hall in order to elude the press, now accepted the 
inevitable with poise and dignity. Amid the clicking flash of the 
photographers, she calmly answered the barrage of questions put 
to her by the reporters. How did she like to be surrounded by 
police guards and secret service men? "Not at all," she replied, 
"I'm much too independent to enjoy being followed every- 

Another reporter asked if she thought the First Lady should 
hold press conferences, write a column, and generally take part 
in public affairs. Here was an opportunity to play upon the 
prejudice entertained by millions of voters against the mani- 
fold activities of Eleanor Roosevelt. Edith Willkie refused the 
political gambit. She answered simply, "Yes I do, if she is able 
to do it." This generous answer offered a magnificent rebuke to 
the narrow-minded Republicans who had condemned the First 
Lady for her speeches and other public activities. 

Asked her preference among all the White House ladies, she 
responded without hesitation that she would feel herself highly 
successful if she could equal the popularity of Mrs. Coolidge. 
"So many of them were very fine. I only hope I can be as 

At 4:35 the same afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Willkie walked 
down the center aisle of Convention Hall to the platform amid 
the cheering welcome of the delegates and visitors. Hats were 
tossed in the air, handkerchiefs and flags waved from all over the 
floor as well as the galleries, the organ thundered and the dele- 
gates hurrahed. The handsome nominee bowed to the left and 
to the right down the long walk to the rostrum. The presenta- 


tion of Wendell Willkie and his wife to the delegates was the 
concluding ceremony of the convention. Earlier that afternoon, 
Charles L. McNary had been nominated as vice-presidential 

Chairman Martin presented Wendell Willkie, the candidate, 
for a word of greeting. Old party leaders like Pew waited 
anxiously and critically for the speech. To their surprise, he did 
very well on the first few paragraphs of his brief remarks. As 
the nominee of the people, he said, he expected to conduct a 
fighting campaign to bring unity to America, unity to labor, 
capital, agriculture and manufacture, and unity to all classes 
for the preservation of freedom. He invited all of them to join 
him in "this great crusade." Only forty-eight days ago, he re- 
counted, he had begun to preach this doctrine of unity to the 
American people, and it was evident that this simple doctrine 
had made a wide appeal. 

Up to this point all the party leaders heartily applauded. 
Then they were chilled by his concluding remarks: "And so, 
you Republicans, I call upon you to join me, help me. The 
cause is great. We must win. We cannot fail if we stand in one 
united fight." Men like Pew and Hamilton were piqued. He 
had called them "YOU Republicans." There had been much 
ado about Willkie's earlier Democratic affiliations. His con- 
cluding sentence, thoughtlessly uttered, might well have gone 
unnoticed if made by Hoover or some other "old-line" Re- 
publican. But when spoken by the newcomer to the field, it 
aroused doubts and suspicions all over again. It marked a de- 
cided decline from the high plane of enthusiasm of the night 
before when the delegates had chosen him leader because his 
cause was just. Upon this note of doubt the convention ad- 

Was the fervor for Willkie which developed to such lofty 
heights at the convention to be permitted to dissipate itself? 
Could it be recaptured and retained? A clever strategist would 
have advised an immediate acceptance speech a strong fighting 
speech. The word of "greeting" that Willkie had given at the 
convention had been ineffectual and inadequate. It was Russell 
Davenport who had advised against the immediate acceptance 
speech. He proposed that Willkie give his acceptance speech 


from the steps of the high school in Elwood. Furthermore, the 
National Chairman should have been named at once to the end 
that he might bind the workers together before they dispersed 
from Philadelphia. This, of course, was the traditional pro- 
cedure. But Willkie wanted to think it over before giving his 
decision, and the party managers respected his desire. 

Saturday afternoon, the twenty-ninth of June, the Willkies 
left the convention city in triumph aboard the yacht Jamaroy, 
owned by Roy W. Howard, newspaper publisher. This short 
cruise gave the nominee two days of rest, most of which he spent 
in sound sleep. Russell Davenport was the only other guest 
aboard the yacht. On Monday morning, the Jamaroy docked at 
Pier Twenty-six, New York City. Reporters eagerly awaited the 
arrival of the Republican presidential candidate. The campaign 
had begun. 


The Acceptance Speech 

WHEN WILLKIE reached his office Monday morning from the 
Philadelphia Convention, he found that his son Philip, a Prince- 
ton student, had made an appointment through his secretary 
to see him. Somewhat amused by the formality of the young 
man, he awaited with interest to learn the nature of the inter- 
view. His son, it developed, had been worried over the nomina- 
tion and he had come to have a man-to-man talk with his father. 
"You see, Dad, you may not win," he explained in all serious- 
ness. "You are giving up a good job, a sure thing. If you lose 
the campaign, perhaps you couldn't find another position of 
$75,000 a year, and I just wondered if you had considered all 
this." Willkie was thoroughly delighted with the boy's point 
of view, but he assured him that even if he should lose the elec- 
tion, the family finances would not suffer. As a matter of fact, 
Willkie had planned to resign from Commonwealth and 
Southern if he had not been nominated, so as to go into general 
legal practice again. He had delayed his resignation that spring 
because of the presidential boom as he felt that his political 
enemies would make capital of it by saying he was quitting 
utilities in order to win votes. 

There were other callers waiting to see the candidate al- 
though none with such a keen personal interest in his future. 



The matter of greatest importance which confronted Willkie 
was the choosing of a national chairman. Most of the National 
Republican Committee favored Hamilton, except Alf Landon. 
Willkie did not like him either but he had a commitment to 
Hamilton. So Willkie conceived of a compromise plan; to make 
Hamilton the National Chairman for fund-raising, and then 
create an executive committee to guide the campaign. No one 
seemed pleased with this suggestion, certainly not Hamilton. 

Therefore, Willkie sought advice from Raymond Moley 
about his ingenious plan for a board to direct the campaign. 
Although Moley was unimpressed by such a scheme, he sug- 
gested getting advice from an expert. Accordingly, he telephoned 
Will H. Hays, chairman of the National Republican Committee 
in 1918-21. By this time it was past ten o'clock at night and 
pouring rain, but Hays responded loyally to the call and visited 
Moley at the St. Regis Hotel. Hays listened patiently as Willkie 
explained his novel idea. Smiling kindly, he explained: "You 
have to remember the millions of little people in a campaign. 
They like to look clear down the lane to a great political 
leader." With reluctance, Willkie gave up his idea of a board. 

Hamilton now came to New York for a conference with 
Willkie. But after a two-hour session, he left the Pine Street 
office of the famous executive in the knowledge that he would 
not be the one to direct the forthcoming campaign. 

Many of the party leaders were highly incensed over the 
treatment of Hamilton inasmuch as they considered him to 
be the greatest organizer and strategist since Mark Hanna. In 
1937, he had gone to England to make a study of the Conserva- 
tive Party which had remained out of power for years and still 
maintained its vitality. It was Hamilton, therefore, who had 
seen the necessity for a permanent national party headquarters 
and who had been instrumental in establishing it. The idea was 
to maintain a regular staff with continuing chairmen so as to 
establish constant contact with the local party leaders. Between 
1937 and 1940, he set the pattern by making trips to all parts 
of the country, talking to county chairmen and city bosses. 
Between visits, he kept in touch with them by long distance 
telephone calls. In this way he reconstructed the party morale 
among the workers in the field. 


Before the National Convention, definite commitments had 
been made by all the major candidates to the retention of 
Hamilton as National Chairman. Hamilton had not only organ- 
ized the party on a firm basis, but had raised the money to 
pay off the three and a half million dollars' debt after the 1936 
campaign. The men who had contributed most of this money 
had each of them individually asked Willkie and the other can- 
didates for a personal pledge, if nominated, to the continuation 
of Hamilton as National Chairman. All the candidates, includ- 
ing Willkie, gave this pledge. These financial backers wanted to 
be assured a stable structure and a solvent party. 

Moreover, many Republicans resented this Hamilton episode 
as showing a callous disregard by the candidate of the influence 
used on his behalf at the convention by the National Chairman. 
They knew that the one man above all others responsible for 
the Willkie nomination at the Philadelphia Convention was 
John Hamilton. He had appointed as chairman of Arrange- 
ments, Samuel Pryor. Just as easily he could have appointed 
Colonel R. B. Creager of Texas, the outspoken opponent of 
Willkie who was loyal to Taft. He had chosen Stassen to key- 
note the convention. But that was not all. Hamilton had worked 
actively on the floor and used his wide acquaintance and prestige 
to garner votes for Willkie. The brutal treatment of Hamilton, 
therefore, aroused bitter resentment by the men at the core 
of the party's activities. This unhappy episode lived throughout 
the campaign. Pew most vividly described it when he said, 
"Willkie carved the heart out of John Hamilton." 

Willkie was never a politician. Neither by training nor 
academic study had he ever learned the structure or function 
of political parties. He looked upon the party as something 
unclean. This was revealed by his comment to Justin Whiting, 
who succeeded him as President of C.&rS. Immediately after the 
convention, swarms of people, party members, came to see him, 
to get his nod. They were kept waiting as he received each in 
rotation. So Justin Whiting, recognizing the serious and awk- 
ward situation, tried to smooth out the snarl by suggesting to 
Willkie that he should secure a trained political secretary who 
would recognize the distinguished people lining up in his office 
and who would know the courteous way to handle them. Willkie 


had taken a young woman from the company's secretarial pool 
who was known for her painstaking work but who was wholly 
untrained to meet the public. He chose also a young man 
efficient as a secretary, but again without any political experi- 
ence. But to Whiting's kindly suggestion, Willkie replied 
sharply: "Justin, you do not seem to understand that the im- 
portance of my campaign is that it is a spontaneous reaction 
of the people. I do not want an organization of politically 
trained people in my office." 

Willkie had been able to rationalize his participation in 
politics only by establishing new standards. He intended to 
carry on the campaign by new rules and he wanted as little to 
do with the career politicians as possible. He looked upon his 
campaign as a crusade. He announced to the press that party 
labels would mean little in the November election. The people, 
regardless of party affiliations, would either support or oppose 
the New Deal. Such views were considered heresy by the party 
leaders. Indeed, it would be a denial of the purpose of the party 
system and of the principle of party responsibility. 

Another unorthodox view which Willkie announced was that 
he would not accept any contributions from a corporation, or 
any cash contributions in excess of ten dollars. "This is the 
people's movement and I am going to keep it that way," he 
declared. This remark annoyed Weir, who was the National 
Treasurer of the party. In flaming anger, he read the statement 
in the press and promptly telephoned Willkie. "If any more 
such statements are issued without my knowledge, I will resign," 
he said, and demanded that hereafter there should be the closest 
co-operation on all matters relating to contributions. The earlier 
feeling of good fellowship was breached. 

Not a few of the friends around Willkie recognized the ne- 
cessity for making peace with the political leaders. Even a 
people's movement needed organization and direction. Harold 
Talbott was one who urged greater organization. He had la- 
bored brilliantly for Willkie at Philadelphia but he had ex- 
pected that as soon as the nomination was secured, the experi- 
enced party men would take over guidance of the campaign. 
Accordingly, he hurried to Washington and engaged a large 
suite of rooms at the Willard Hotel. This was to be the setting 


for those important party conferences to bring peace and co- 
operation within the Republican ranks and to allay the acri- 
mony, bitterness and dissension which developed at the con- 
vention. But Willkie stayed in Washington just twenty-two 
hours. He arrived by plane from New York at 2:45 on Monday, 
and was met at the airport by a delegation of congressmen 
headed by Representative Halleck of Indiana. In the evening, 
he attended a dinner given by Joe Martin and Halleck. Taft, 
Vandenberg and Bridges were among the guests, and each in 
the best traditional manner pledged his loyalty to the candidate. 

The following morning Willkie announced to a waiting press 
his decision for the national chairman and the rest of his official 
family. Joseph W. Martin, chairman of the recent National 
Convention and Minority Leader of the House was to serve 
as the Republican National Chairman and campaign manager. 
The honesty and fairness of Martin during the convention and 
his loyalty during the McNary episode had completely won the 
affection of Willkie. There was the further reason that Martin 
provided another link with Congress, as he was the most pop- 
ular Republican in the House of Representatives. Owing to his 
congressional obligations, however, Martin had been loath to 
accept the campaign assignment. Nevertheless, Willkie had been 
persistent and proudly made the announcement: "Like a mem- 
ber of the famed Northwest Mounted Police, I've got my 
man!' " Probably no one realized better than Martin the seri- 
ousness of the mistake of his appointment. It was in fact the 
second major blunder of the campaign. 

Martin was to serve as chairman without remuneration. As a 
member of Congress he could not accept a second salary. To 
soothe Hamilton, Willkie named him "Executive Director" in 
charge of the western campaign with headquarters in Chicago. 
He was to retain his salary of $25,000 a year. When Hamilton 
was acquainted with this proposal, he promptly rejected it. He 
said, "I will pass out literature, I will help in any way that I 
can, but I cannot step down in rank." Pew and Weeks at once 
rallied around him and urged "harmony" and the good of the 
party. So Hamilton in a superb display of good humor entered 
upon his curtailed duties. 

Samuel Pryor was made vice-chairman in charge of the cam- 


paign in the East with headquarters in New York. Willkie had 
fim asked Pryor to be his manager, but Pryor had definitely 
refused because of business duties, and out of loyalty to John 
Hamilton. In addition to these two chairmen, Willkie estab- 
lished an executive committee of some twenty-five members 
from diverse parts of the country under the direction of Gov- 
ernor Stassen. This committee, however, was never active as a 
group. Russell Davenport was named personal representative 
of Willkie, which meant that everything must clear through him 
before it reached the nominee. 

With little accomplished in Washington, Willkie and his 
party embarked on a chartered plane for Colorado Springs, 
Tuesday afternoon. A number of Republicans made no effort 
to conceal their delight at his departure. In the meantime, a 
concerted move had developed among Democratic Senators to 
discredit the Republican nominee because of the avalanche of 
telegrams received by the delegates at Philadelphia. Senator 
James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, Democratic chairman of 
the Committee on Appropriations, asked for an investigation 
and declared: "I feel that anything as comprehensive as that high- 
pressured campaign is of enough public interest so that the voters 
ought to have the facts for such weight as they may attach to 
them" Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, chairman of the Investi- 
gating Committee, was not loath to push the inquiry. Never- 
theless, the attempt to show that the telegrams were synthetic 
was doomed to failure. The correspondents and the politicians 
at Philadelphia knew that the telegrams were genuine. 

Some of the Democrats resorted to name-calling in an effort 
to ridicule the Republican candidate. Senator Alben Barkley 
referred to the Philadelphia Convention as the "second charge 
of the light brigade in the heroic battle of kilowatts." Mayor 
Edward J. Kelly, of Chicago, described the candidate as "Mor- 
ganized." Maury Maverick, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, called 
Willkie only a "flash-in-the-pan" and a candidate who catered 
to the "Hate-Roosevelts, to the Fascists, and to the Commu- 
nists." Harold Ickes told his press conference that Wendell 
Wiilkie and his friends had become a holding company for 
the Republican Party. Senator Tom Connally said: "The Re- 
publicans have nominated Wendell Willkie who has an electric 


background, an electric personality and an electric campaign 
chest. However, he had betterprepare for a blackout in Novem- 
ber/' Senator James M. Mead, of New York, contributed the 
phrase that Willkie was the "Pied Piper of the Utilities." 

A far more serious effort to smear the candidate was started 
when Speaker of the House William B. Bankhead said that the 
Republicans in nominating Willkie were trying "to place the 
Executive in control of forces foreign to our American way of 
life." This was a touch-off for a whispering campaign that 
Willkie was a Nazi. The President himself on July 5 warned 
Americans against the desire of a large number of persons to 
surrender freedom to the interests of efficiency under a "cor- 
porate government." The word "corporate" was a term Roose- 
velt had not previously used, as the press hastened to point out. 
It carried a double meaning. The totalitarian government of 
Italy was frequently spoken of as a "corporate state." Willkie, 
on the other hand, had been the head of a huge American cor- 
poration. The "corporation" of fascism was a cycle of produc- 
tion, such as the electrical industry, operating within the planned 
economy of the Fascist Government. In the United States, 
however, a "corporation" was an individual business within 
the orbit of the free enterprise system. The two "corporations" 
were as different as chalk and cheese. 

Resenting Willkie's appeal to the people, the New Dealers 
questioned his patriotism. He was ridiculed as the representa- 
tive of Wall Street, a pawn of the capitalists, and one sympa- 
thetic with the Fascists of Europe. Edward J. Flynn, chairman 
of the Democratic National Committee, declared that Willkie 
had been chosen as the candidate of the "public utility party." 
TKe Democratic boss of Tennessee, Edward H. Crump, charged 
that "Willkie's whole life had been a fight against the people- 
defending high electric light rates and watered stock/' Willkie, 
as the representative of the "economic royalist," was pictured 
as a danger to the American system of government, while the 
faithful Democrats conveniently forgot the President's attempt 
in 1938 to purge the party of all those who opposed him. 

As to the Willkie family background, there had never been 
any secret about it. In his speeches, Willkie had frequently 
spoken of his grandparents who fled the Prussian Government 


to seek liberty in America. His paternal grandparents later 
visited their native land and there his father was born. But at 
the age of two, he was brought back to this country by the 
grandparents who then remained permanently in America. His 
mother was born here. Both his mother and father grew up and 
were educated in this land of the free. Such were the simple 
facts twisted by the opposition to discredit Willkie as a danger- 
ous and disloyal citizen. 

Another effective weapon used to detract from Willkie was 
his stand on public power. The New Dealers were emphatic 
that if the Republicans should be elected, this inherent right 
of the people, to secure electric power, at lowest possible cost, 
would come to an end. Although Willkie was opposed to public 
power projects because he believed all trends towards a planned 
economy were limitations of the freedom of the people, he 
had declared as early as June 14 that "you can't turn the clock 
back on TVA." He termed it "unrealistic" for any President to 
try to give TVA back to the utilities. Although the establish- 
ment of TVA was ruthless, he explained, the dams had been 
built, and distribution systems had ben acquired. Thus before 
the nominating convention Willkie had advocated a five-year 
test for TVA to see what benefits might accrue. 

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago 
had a sour ending. The third term issue alienated many faithful 
Democrats, as well as Roosevelt's demand that Henry Wallace 
be nominated as Vice-President. But as a further blow to the 
confidence of a large number of loyal party members was 
the resignation as National Chairman of that beloved leader, 
Jim Farley. This sharply emphasized the irregularity of the 
third term nomination. The high and mighty action of the 
Corcoran-Cohen crowd caused sober party members anxious 
reflections. And furthermore, many responsible members of the 
Democratic Party criticized the whispering campaign directed 
against Willkie concerning his German ancestry. Accordingly 
the Fortune poll for August recorded a drop in the Roosevelt 

July August 

Roosevelt 49.0% 44.3% 

'- 31.4% 40.8% 


As a result of all this dissatisfaction many prominent Demo- 
crats announced support of the Republican candidate. Among 
these were Vance C. McCormick, National Democratic Chair- 
man in 1916; Ex-Governor William H. (Alfalfa Bill) Murray 
of Oklahoma; Stephen F. Chadwick, former National Com- 
mander of the American Legion; Hamilton Holt, president of 
Rollins College, and Irvin S. Cobb, humorist. During the month 
of August, Alfred E. Smith, former Democratic nominee for 
President, publicly announced his support of Willkie, as did 
Judge Samuel Seabury. Then, in rapid succession, came public 
declarations in favor of the Republican candidate from Justice 
Joseph M. Proskauer, formerly of the New York State Supreme 
Court and one-time consultant of Roosevelt, Stanley High, 
former editor of the Christian Herald, O. M. W. Sprague, 
Harvard economist who had advised the New Deal in 1933, 
Ewing Y. Mitchell, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce 
under Roosevelt, and Young B. Smith, Dean of Columbia Law 

Perhaps the most important of these insurgent Democrats 
were John W. Hanes and Lewis W. Douglas. Former high 
officials of the Administration, the Under-Secretary of the Treas- 
ury and the Director of the Budget, respectively, their support 
had great significance and far-reaching influence. They wired 
Willkie proposing to enlist the Democrats who believed that 
loyalty to country took precedent over loyalty to party. This 
telegram came to the attention of Harold Talbott who was 
handling Willkie's correspondence at Colorado Springs. Quick 
to perceive the advantage of such an organization, Talbott 
urged Willkie to telephone Hanes an immediate acceptance. 

Thus was born the Democrats-for- Willkie organization. Tal- 
bott suggested that Alan Valentine, president of the University 
of Rochester, and a Democrat, be included. As events worked 
out, it was Hanes, Talbott, and Valentine who did most of the 
work. Although Talbott was not a Democrat, he was the liaison 
man between the Democrats-for-Willkie organization and the 
Willkie headquarters. Hanes and Talbott collected the money 
which made the Democrats-for-Willkie so highly effective. In 
addition the Hanes committee put on a publicity campaign, 
sent out speakers, bought radio time, and carried on a full 


program of political activity. These Willkie Democrats prided 
themselves that the Republicans even borrowed their talent 
from time to time. The Hanes committee set up an organization 
in every state in the Union, although they did not get started 
until August. 

There was little doubt of Roosevelt's chagrin that some of 
the stalwarts of his party deserted to the Willkie camp. When 
press correspondents asked the President what he thought of 
Hanes and Douglas coming out for Willkie, he replied with 
sarcasm that they had always been more interested in dollars 
than in humanity. In acknowledging the Alfred E. Smith sup- 
port, therefore, Willkie slapped back by declaring: "I hope that 
nobody suggests that the warm-hearted Alfred E. Smith is one 
of those persons who is actuated by love of money rather than 
love of humanity." 

Rarely had a candidate been so favored by the quality of 
the support accorded him as was Willkie. He touched the man 
at the top and the man at the bottom, the industrialist and the 
banker as well as the shopkeeper and the man of small business. 
Economists and scholars had confidence in him as did the rank 
and file. The directors of big business and the small share- 
holders believed in his honesty and ability. The broad people's 
movement behind him was no mirage, no propaganda trick. It 
was real. No better proof of this could be presented than the 
story of the Willkie Clubs, with their large number of non- 
partisan members eagerly working for a Willkie victory. 

The Democrats-for-Willkie and the Willkie Clubs influenced 
Willkie regarding the pattern of his campaign. He took it for 
granted that the Republicans would vote for him. Thus he 
determined to direct his appeal to the Democrats and the inde- 
pendent voters. To newsmen he said: "I do not know of any 
reason why Democrats who subscribed to the Democratic plat- 
form of 1932 or who believe in the historic principles of the 
Democratic Party, or [one] who was a Woodrow Wilson Demo- 
crat should not vote for me in preference to the President." 

Among the reasons for support listed in the numerous tele- 
grams from Democrats which Willkie received while in Colo- 
rado Springs were: opposition to the third term as a menace 
to the free functioning of democracy, opposition to the con- 


tinuous centralization of power in the federal Government and 
most especially in the office of the presidency itself, opposition 
to the whole philosophy of scarcity economics which limited 
production and which had decreased the nation's standard of 
living, and opposition to a class-conscious government by men 
instead of a government by law giving equal opportunity for all. 

To woo these discontented Democrats became the chief focus 
of the campaign. The Republican Party was subordinated. All 
Willkie wanted from the Republicans were their votes. His 
neglect of party officials, however, brought sharp complaints. 
As criticism increased, Willkie invited a group of important 
Republicans to visit him in Colorado Springs. This was an 
attempt to pacify the turbulent feelings of his party leaders. 
When Root suddenly heard that the politicians were going to 
fly out to see Willkie he was greatly disturbed. Accordingly, he 
telephoned Willkie, and the candidate loyally asked him to 
come out at once. In this way young Root arrived before the 
politicians, much to his satisfaction. He happily stood beside 
Willkie as the plane carrying the Republican leaders rolled 
onto the runway at the airport. By this quick maneuver he was 
able to entrench his control over die clubs he had organized. 

This powwow of the Republican high command and inde- 
pendent leaders resulted in a momentous decision that three 
separate organizations were to run the campaign: The Associ- 
ated Willkie Clubs were to continue under Oren Root, Jr., as 
Executive Director. The Democrats-for-Willkie organization 
would be left under the leadership of John W. Hanes. Lastly, 
the Republican Party would function under Joseph Martin. 
Each organization was wholly independent of the other and 
accountable directly to Willkie. 

This was the beginning of the comedy of errors, as Raymond 
Moley characterized the ensuing campaign. It was a threefold 
authority with the supreme command lodged in an amateur, 
Russell Davenport. Annoyed Republican leaders posed the ques- 
tion: "Whose party is it anyway?" 

However, the candidate admitted that the Willkie Clubs had 
become a questionable asset. Their constant quarreling with 
the regular Republican organization lessened the effectiveness 
of both. Several days after the convention, therefore, he had 


asked John B. Hollister to act as special adviser to Oren Root 
and his Willkie Clubs. Hollister was well known throughout 
New England. He had gone to Yale and kept up his associations 
in the East, although long associated with the legal firm of 
Taft, Stettinius and Hollister, of Cincinnati. He fulfilled this 
difficult task of keeping a semblance of order and peace within 
the ranks of the Willkie Clubs with supreme skill until he was 
assigned by Joe Martin to the Willkie special train for the 
campaign tour. 

Meanwhile, the weeks at Colorado became more and more 
chaotic. There was no over-all direction and the politicians and 
the amateurs seemed to be working at cross-purposes. The 
former tried to swing the political organization into action and 
the amateurs tried as hard to prevent it. This was to be a 
people's movement and the politicians, therefore, would only 
contaminate it. Each group felt resentment towards the other. 
The situation was aggravated as one Republican leader after 
another who came to Colorado was snubbed. Two of the most 
notable cases were Herbert Hoover and Henry Fletcher, gen- 
eral counsel to the Republican Party. Hoover was kept waiting 
while Willkie chatted amicably with Elliott Roosevelt about 
his vacation, although Hoover had flown in from a fishing trip 
upon the request of the candidate. It was an unthinking slight 
to the former President, but resented by all Republicans. 

Henry Fletcher came out to Colorado to discuss the effect of 
the Hatch Act, which Congress had just passed, limiting cam- 
paign expenditures to three million dollars. The question at 
issue was the reporting of the expenditures of the Willkie 
Clubs and other independent groups. He presented a fourteen- 
page legal brief which had taken days to prepare and much 
learning of the law. But unfortunately, he did not know that 
this was a sensitive point with the candidate from Wall Street. 
Willkie had already established a policy for scrupulous and exact 
accounting of all expenditures. Verbally, he showed Fletcher 
the door. As it worked out, the Republicans spent only $2,242,- 
742 in the 1940 campaign, which was a record of economy. 

Amid all the strain and jangled nerves there were lighter 
moments from time to time that relieved the tension. Willkie 
was always an early riser. It was his custom to sit down to break- 


fast in Colorado about six o'clock. He had it served on a private 
veranda off his suite. Frequently he telephoned across the hall 
to Talbott or Davenport to join him for a quiet talk. The fresh- 
ness of the mountain air, the dew still on the shrubs and 
flowers, and the early stillness of the morning were an invitation 
to friendly banter. 

Each morning after breakfast, the day began with a press 
conference. Even the President has no more than two press con- 
ferences a week. The news runs a little thin when a statement 
must be made each day. Yet this was the pace Willkie set for 
himself. Instead of commenting only upon important issues, 
he was giving his views on anything and everything. This of 
course opened him to needless attack. Republican leaders criti- 
cized him for talking too much. 

Frayed nerves, small irritations, contradictions, and confusion 
were constant, with such ordinary matters as photographs get- 
ting out of hand. Photographers were insatiable. They always 
wanted another picture. On one particular morning several of 
the photographers decided that a colored picture of his wife 
would be nice. Accordingly, Mrs. Willkie was requested after 
breakfast that morning, to get ready for a colored photograph 
in the rose garden. This time she rebelled. There had been so 
many pictures and she hated all the publicity and fanfare of 
politics, anyway. Quite clearly she would have been happier 
living quietly in her apartment on Fifth Avenue with her two 
men, Wendell and Philip. But her husband had chosen politics 
and dutifully she tried to do all that was expected of a candi- 
date's wife. She had been simple and charming to all. The news- 
men unanimously praised her. But taut nerves sometimes snap. 

On this morning she had no desire to be photographed even 
in the rose garden. In the hall outside the Willkie suite the 
argument took place. The photographers were present and 
ready for the occasion. The publicity director was there too. 
In her determination not to be photographed she had sum- 
moned several of her husband's aides. They settled the matter 
very neatly. "If you don't want to be photographed, don't be. 
You are not compelled to go to the rose garden." Oh, but she 
was, spoke up the young publicity director! Then someone 
fetched her husband to the scene. He was nettled by being called 


to the squabble. Summarily he directed his wife to go into the 
apartment and make ready for the photograph. Smarting from 
this public rebuke, she marched into the suite with her stub- 
born little head high. She went straight to the bathroom and 
filled the basin with water and plunged her head into it. Three 
minutes later, the door opened and she stuck her head out 
dripping wet! 

Meanwhile Russell Davenport was working away on the 
acceptance speech, which nobody liked. Willkie had invited 
Raoul Desvernine to Colorado for the one purpose of apprais- 
ing this important speech. They had discussed many political 
talks together in the old days during the thirties when they both 
were engaged in effective attacks upon the New Deal. So when 
Willkie asked for an opinion of the speech Desvernine was 
frank: "It is the lousiest political speech I have ever read." 
Consequently, Desvernine suggested that an experienced polit- 
ical speech writer be secured to produce a worthy acceptance 
speech, and mentioned Raymond Moley who certainly had the 
experience. Willkie had sought advice from Moley on numerous 
occasions and, moreover, Moley had become one of his most 
enthusiastic column writers. But Willkie replied, "No, it would 
be embarrassing to have Moley because of his former connec- 
tion with Roosevelt." Such statements usually found their way 
back to the person involved to prick his vanity and corrode a 
friendship. Desvernine then added the names of Ralph Robey, 
Hugh Johnson, and George E. Sokolsky. He told Willkie these 
men were all for him and each would accept the assignment. 
All Willkie had to do was to telephone them. But he never did. 
Moley wrote one speech on foreign policy which Davenport 
disposed of. Thus the important acceptance speech was left in 
the hands of the poet, in whom Willkie continued to have 

It was generally conceded that up to the time of the accept- 
ance speech, Willkie was elected. But those who visited Colo- 
rado Springs, and witnessed the lack of organization there, 
began to wonder. The National Chairman, Representative Mar- 
tin, was busy on the floor of the House, although he tried to 
keep in touch with the candidate by telephone and even spent 
some time in Colorado in conference with the candidate. 


On the fifteenth of August, the Willkie entourage left for 
Indianapolis in two chartered planes. Fifty-five thousand per- 
sons shouted a welcome to him on his arrival at the airport. 
From Indianapolis, Willkie, accompanied by his wife, motored 
with a police escort to Rushville. Groups of people in villages 
and towns along the route stood waiting for the cavalcade to 
pass. Much of the time Willkie stood in the car waving to the 
people although he and his wife both were tired and worn. 
Hence it was close to midnight when the party arrived in the 
village, but the entire population of six thousand persons were 
on the streets to greet their hero. Perhaps the people of Elwood 
were hostile to him, but there was no doubt that the citizens of 
Rushville loved him. Placards all over town boasted, "Willkie 
is a successful Rush County farmer." A picture inscribed "The 
Pride of Rushville" adorned the front window of his mother-in- 
law's house, where the Willkies remained overnight. 

Saturday morning Willkie entrained for the fifty-five-mile 
ride to Elwood for the acceptance speech. But in typical Willkie 
fashion he forgot his manuscript. A hurried wire to Rushville, 
and the precious document was rushed to him by motorcycle 
police. Only a few minutes before time for delivery, therefore, 
did Chairman Martin have an opportunity to read the lines. 
He was amazed to find that it was a plain typewritten speech. 
Willkie did not know that political speakers always have their 
speeches typed in capital letters with lines three spaces apart 
so that they can easily look up and down from the manuscript. 
He did not know that experienced politicians never give an 
important address without carefully and quietly going over it 
with half a dozen colleagues. A campaigner like Thomas Dewey 
never gave a speech that he had not gone over aloud some ten 
or twelve times with seasoned henchmen. There had been no 
consultation on this speech with the experienced men of the 

The acceptance speech was given at Elwood. This was another 
major blunder. The town was too small to have the necessary 
facilities to handle the huge crowd for such an occasion. How- 
ever, a valiant attempt was made to overcome this disadvantage. 
As soon as Joe Martin was chosen national chairman of die 


Republican Party, he appointed Homer E. Capehart, of Indian- 
apolis, to take complete charge of the arrangements. 

Capehart, who several years later was elected senator, was 
an experienced politician and a successful businessman. He had 
achieved national prominence in the summer of 1938 when he 
revived the Republican Party in the state by holding a "Corn 
Field Conference," on his own farm at his own expense. Fifty 
thousand people came including such bigwigs of the party as 
John Hamilton, Joe Martin, Senator Jim Watson and Governor 
Clifford Townsend. 

As soon as Capehart received the assignment he went to 
Elwood and stayed there until after the ceremony. The task 
before him was colossal. He estimated there would be about 
two hundred thousand people coming to the ceremonies, as 
the candidate was the most spectacular Republican the party 
had had since the days of the gaunt rail-splitter from Illinois. 
The first problem was how to get all those people into and out 
of such a small town with only four roads. Capehart induced a 
reluctant council to pass special traffic regulations making these 
roads one-way thoroughfares for the day of August 17. Before 
the ceremony all cars moved only into the city, and afterwards 
all cars moved only out of the city. 

The next problem was to arrange a place for the ceremony 
itself. There was a small City Park, sometimes called Callaway 
Park, at the edge of the town. But a stage had to be built. Elec- 
tricity, water, telephones, -a public address system, and broad- 
casting apparatus had to be installed. Concession stands had to 
be erected to provide the multitude with cold drinks and sand- 
wiches. In addition, comfort stations and an emergency first aid 
room had to be constructed. All this had to be done in a little 
over a month's time. 

There were other problems. The matter of parking space was 
one. In fact the park itself was not large enough for the antici- 
pated crowd and additional pasture land had to be rented for 
the occasion. As the ground was owned by a Democrat active 
in state politics, and one who was an open enemy of the candi- 
date as well, the price was fantastic, $12,000. Parking space for 
forty thousand cars had to be provided. Congestion was cut to 


the minimum by dividing the. parking space into- four sections, 
one section for each of the four roads leading into town. 

The road leading to the park was a dirt road.. This had to 
be oiled to lay the dust, or no one would.have been able either 
to see or breathe- It was but another item of expense in the 
gigantic preparation for an event too big for the size of the 
town. Thirty thousand chairs were secured to be set up in the 
center of the park. This was done not so much to provide seats 
as to, keep the crowd spread out so that they would not crush 
each other to death in an, effort, to get near the platform. 

AIL this preparation was difficult, enough. But the candidate 
then had a sentimental urge to stop at his old high school to 
say a few words. Capehart tried to discourage this feature of 
the day's events, but to no avail. The difficulty was twofold. 
The street, was narrow, making it difficult to get, in and out of 
the schoolyard even with a few hundred people present. Cape- 
hart feared total congestion if not several bad, accidents. To 
add to the difficulties were the half dozen large trees in the 
school grounds. These had to be removed. The school board 
was not favorable to this action but finally agreed OIL the con- 
dition; the trees should be carefully lifted out of their places 
and later replanted. This little procedure cost $2,500. Finally 
a small platform was built over the steps, but the space and 
position made it. difficult to erect a secure structure. It would 
hold with safety the candidate and -two or three others; But if 
the crowd should break loose and start, climbing on. the plat- 
form, it would, collapse. Capehart almost collapsed himself, 
thinking, of the dread, possibility. The schoolhouse episode 
added a clear $10,000. to the total cost of the day in Elwood. 

In addition to. alL the. physical handicaps to be surmounted, 
there was the hostility of the people towards a Willkie. They 
didn't, want him to come back. They took no civic, pride in the 
fame he. had- brought, the. community. All they could; think of 
was that he had. ignored Elwood for twenty-three years. When 
he bought farm, property, it was in Rushville. Now that he had 
suddenly turned to politics,, they felt, he wished to brush die dust 
of Wall Street, from, his boots,, and be just a small-town boy 
again.. Moreover, the townsfolk usually voted Democratic. Will- 


kie's recent conversion to the Republican Party was an added 
point of grievance. And, anyway, the people didn't like all the 
fuss and inconvenience of the preparation for the event. No 
group or organization was particularly helpful, and frequently 
it seemed as if these people actually were making arrangements 
more difficult. 

The amount of money contributed by individuals and com- 
mercial firms in Elwood was almost negligible. The whole affair 
cost about $75,000, most of which was secured by Capehart 
himself. On the other hand, the merchants of Elwood were 
eager to make all they could out of the unwelcome event. 
Reporters and others of the advance guard on arrangements 
were living at the small hotel in the town at a rate of three 
dollars a day. On August 14, the rate was suddenly hiked to 
ten dollars a day, and three days' guarantee required. Several 
of the men tried to reason with the manager on patriotic grounds 
but this was wasted oratory. It took the suavest of politicians 
to quiet the press and prevent the story being spread in the 
press from coast to coast. Then the restaurants and food stores 
stocked up with large supplies thinking they would have a 
rushing day of business, but all the cars zoomed right through 
the town to the park and there the people bought what they 
wanted from the concession stands. Many people brought a 
hamper of food with them. So instead of being enriched by a 
few extra dollars, these merchants lost money. Furious about 
that, they promptly blamed it on Willkie. Another cause for 
resentment was the removal of the Republican headquarters 
immediately after the ceremony to Rushville, where Willkie 
stayed until the start of his campaign tour. 

In the midst of such unfriendliness, it was not surprising that 
black rumors were spread far and wide. Letters and postcards 
were circulated, making malicious charges. It was said that 
Willkie let his mother die in poverty and that she had been 
buried in a potter's field. All lies, but damaging to people who 
did not know the truth. Some half a dozen persons threatened 
violence if Willkie ever came to Elwood. Special detectives, 
therefore, were assigned to watch this little band. But no dis- 
turbance occurred. The only unseemly action which must have 


made visitors wonder a little was the number of Democratic 
banners displayed at the park while Willkie was speaking. 

Willkie arrived from Rushville by special train about 12:30 
on Saturday, the seventeenth. Sharply at one o'clock, the Uni- 
versity of Indiana band struck up and the parade began. The 
men of Summit Post of the American Legion in Ohio, of which 
Willkie had once been the commander, came as a unit to march 
in the parade as an honor guard. There was to be a stop at the 
schoolhouse. Capehart had given careful instructions to the 
driver of Willkie's car to leave the police escort when they 
arrived at the high school and circle inside the grounds. But the 
driver forgot and followed the police chiefs car into the street, 
stopping in front of the steps. At once the crowd surged forward 
and the candidate was trapped in the middle of the street. 
Capehart called together twelve husky police officers and, form- 
ing a V-shape wedge with himself at the point, lunged through 
the crowd knocking people down, and bruising others, but 
finally reached the car. Willkie, his wife, his mother-in-law and 
son were pushed into the V-wedge guarded by police on both 
sides as they all struggled through the mob to reach the plat- 
form. It was a very hot day with temperature near a hundred 
and the sun shining with a torrid glare. By the time they were 
clear of the packed crowd, they were all crumpled and ex- 
hausted. Willkie spoke briefly but his freshness and sparkle had 
been lost in the tussle to get from the car to the platform. And 
the main event of the day was ahead. 

Meanwhile, several hundred thousand people had gathered 
at Callaway Park. They had begun to arrive at dawn. By four 
o'clock in the morning ten thousand people had come. Some 
of them were asleep in trailer-cars, others were lying on the 
ground. They had come from all parts of the country. Many 
drove shiny new cars, but most of them came in vehicles that 
had seen considerable use. The people had rallied as for a 
crusade. There had never been anything like it before in 
American politics. Never had so large a crowd gathered for an 
acceptance speech and in such heat. Indiana was scorched by a 
drought that summer. And the town was no attraction in itself. 
But despite the temperature, and the exhaustion from traffic 


congestion, these people were joyous and enthusiastic when 
they saw Willkie step onto the platform shortly before three 

Here was a man the nation acclaimed. All major newspapers 
in the country sent reporters to cover the event, all radio net- 
works were hooked up for the broadcast. Congress had ad- 
journed for the week-end so that Republican members could 
go to Elwood. Ten million people sat before their radios from 
Wall Street to Main Street. 

"We are here today," the strong voice of Willkie began, "to 
represent a sacred cause the preservation of American democ- 
racy. . . . We go into our campaign as into a crusade/' He told 
how precious liberty was to all his family since the time his 
grandparents fled Prussia to find freedom in America. When 
the war came in 1917 three of the four boys in the family en- 
listed in the United States Army within one month after the 
declaration of hostilities, to preserve those same precious Ameri- 
can traditions. "I cannot ask the American people to put faith 
in me, without recording my conviction that some form of 
selective service is the only democratic way in which to secure 
the trained and competent manpower we need for national 

On foreign issues, Willkie charged the President had "courted 
a war for which the country is hopelessly unprepared." His 
economic creed, he declared, was the restoration of full pro- 
duction and re-employment by private enterprise in America. 
The true test of a good reform must always be whether it has 
encouraged industries to produce, and whether it has opened 
up new opportunities for the youth of the land. "Will it increase 
our standard of living? Will it encourage us to open up a new 
and bigger world? ... It is from weakness that people reach 
for dictators and concentrated government power. Only the 
strong can be free. And only the productive can be strong." 

The policy of taxation under the New Deal, he said, had 
produced inevitable results. The investor has been afraid to 
invest his capital. The businessman has been afraid to expand 
-his operations. "For the first time in our history, American in- 
dustry has remained stationary for a decade." 

In conclusion, Willkie made the most daring proposal ever 


offered in an acceptance speech. It was repeated, next morning, 
in the front-page headlines o the metropolitan dailies through- 
out the nation: "I propose," he said, "that during the next two 
and a half months, the President and I appear together on pub- 
plic platforms in various parts of the country, to debate the 
fundamental issues of this campaign." 

Late in the afternoon, as the cavalcade of thousands of auto- 
mobiles carried the weary spectators in four directions from 
Elwood, many people were speculating as to whether Willkie 
would get his opportunity to meet the "Champ." 


The Campaign of Amateurs 

RUMORS THAT the Old Guard politicians believed the 
Willkie campaign to have gone sour reached the ears of Justin 
Whiting, the new president of Commonwealth and Southern 
Corporation. Accordingly, from New York he telephoned Will- 
kie at his home in Rushville to which the candidate had re- 
turned immediately after the Elwood ceremony. Whiting 
frankly told his former colleague that he was creating needless 
animosity by his brusque treatment of Republican politicians. 
"Call up headquarters from time to time/' he suggested, "and 
ask the party officers how you are doing." The dead silence at 
the Rushville end of the telephone line clearly indicated that 
the friendly advice was not only rejected but also bitterly 

The politicians had indeed become discouraged with the 
performance of the Republican candidate at Colorado Springs. 
For nine weeks they had given him loyalty and co-operation, 
only to be ignored. They had offered their services and made 
suggestions, only to be snubbed. They had found it difficult even 
to obtain interviews with the candidate, while the amateurs, 
regardless of competence or experience, were received with open 
arms. The party leaders had been denied any consultation on the 



acceptance speech and many of them could not suppress a smile 
when it proved to be a disappointment. 

Contradictions within the party ranks became distressing. 
Congressman Joseph W. Martin had pleaded with the candidate 
not to declare himself in favor of the military draft inasmuch 
as Republicans in Congress almost unanimously opposed the 
measure. But Willkie, impelled by his devotion to the truth, 
allotted a conspicuous section of his acceptance speech to sup- 
port of compulsory military service. The patriotism and states- 
manship of Willkie rose above any petty maneuvers of expe- 
diency. In taking his stand on the side of the President on this 
issue, Willkie undoubtedly contributed to Roosevelt's cam- 
paign. But his countrymen received the benefit of his forth- 

Such tactics of the Republican candidate, however, placed 
Martin in an embarrassing predicament. When the conscription 
bill was being drafted, Martin was absent from Washington. 
When the vote was taken, Martin surprised anti-conscriptionists 
by voting in favor of the bill; however, a majority of his Re- 
publican colleagues voted 112 to 51 against it. As for Willkie, 
he was too contemptuous of the Old Guard to come to Washing- 
ton to make a personal appeal to Republican Congressmen to 
reverse a program of opposition which was detrimental to the 
country. Disturbed by the confusion of the campaign, Martin 
complained to Talbott: "I am not a rich man, but I will pay 
you ten thousand dollars if you will get me out of this task 
of chairman." 

By the end of August, 1940, Joseph N. Pew, Jr., considered 
the Willkie campaign already lost. Dewey Short, Republican 
Representative from Missouri, with equal cynicism, croaked in 
the cloakrooms of the Capitol: "Roosevelt is not running against 
Willkie, he is running against Adolf Hitler." Thus Willkie's 
contempt for the political bosses led in turn to defection and 
even disloyalty on the part of the professional politicians whose 
support was indispensable for his victory at the November polls. 

One of the amazing mysteries regarding Wendell Willkie was 
his lack of a sense of reality in American politics. His platonic 
idealism and his repugnance to political trading impelled him 
to disregard or belittle the place of political parties in American 


government., His hatred of dishonest bosses and shifty candidates 
warped his understanding of political leadership in modern 
democracy. "The fact that I got the nomination at Philadelphia 
proves the clumsiness of the politicians. I'm a different kind of 
an egg than the professionals have ever met and they just don't 
know what to make of it," he frequently boasted. Yet men like 
Stassen and Baldwin well recognized that it may be fine lan- 
guage to speak of a mass movement or of a spontaneous people's 
party, but the organization of political activities is an essential 
element for victory at the polls. 

The humble party worker who knocks at the doors of all 
residents in his precinct, the precinct captain who directs and 
encourages the labors of the party workers, the ward chairman 
who supervises the precinct captains, the county committeeman 
who .directs the ward bosses, the .state committeeman who in- 
spires the county committeemen to greater efforts, the chairman 
of the .National Committee who vitalizes the state committees, 
together with the numerous workers at party headquarters scat- 
tered throughout the country this army of thirty to forty thou- 
sand men and women are just as important in winning elections 
as is the candidate himself, and probably more so. Politicians 
agree that in American democracy, there is no such thing as a 
people's party. The so-called vote of the masses is a myth. The 
party is built upon the precinct worker who has the task of 
knowing every voter in his precinct and who gets the voters out 
to the polls on election day, rain or shine, to cast their ballots 
for the party's candidates. Politics is built on organization from 
the bottom up. 

There were loyal friends of many years' standing who could 
have pointed out the pitfalls of Willkie's dangerous course. 
Among them was Raoul E. Desvernine, who was shocked at the 
ineptitude of the Willkie amateurs. On September 3, he drafted 
a long letter to the candidate, vividly describing the errors of 
the campaign and calling for a reform of strategy. The letter 
was never mailed. When the missive was completed, Desvernine 
became convinced that advice to Willkie was futile. Today, 
however, this document serves as a criticism of the campaign by 
a personal friend whose comments were based on an uncanny 
perception of events. 


Desvernine sought first to say that the candidate was, talking 
himself to defeat. "Stop shadow-boxing," urged Desverninei 
"and concentrate, on a, few, simple fundamental issues." He 
advised Willkie: to. "personalise" a limited number of, problems 
before the country. He proposed a. maximum of four issues, 
namely: constitutional, democracy,, free enterprise, individual 
liberty versus totalitarianism, and American capitalism in oppo- 
sition to, the. socialism of the New Deal. The second criticism 
was directed towards the lack of harmony within the party as to 
principles aiuLpolicy. "Of. course, unanimity is impossible, but 
the impression of unified opposition on fundamentals must 
exist," said: Desvernine. "It is just good politics." 

Lastly, Desvernine suggested a staff of researchers to. provide 
the necessary facts in order to avoid the numerous errors which 
delighted the: enemies of the Republican candidate.. EOF in- 
stance, in Willkie's statement on the Property Condemnation 
Amendment to the Selective Service and Training Bill, the 
candidate failed to include any reference to the National De- 
fense Act of 1916 and, other legislation already on the. statute 
books- Indeed, his statement, seemed tor imply that such: legist 
tion was entirely lacking, hut an alert research staff; he said, 
would -have avoided this blunder. 

Perhaps, it 1 , was- unfortunate that Desvernine never sent his 
wise letter oft advice, because Willkie might have barkened, ta 
an old: Mend in whom he had long had much; confidence; In? 
stead: of sucfi sympathetic counsel there were the carpmg^attacks 
from the press- and. the sniping from party members- Irkokby 
this: constant criticism, Willkie made a concession: ton tiaecpolfc 
ticiaro; , He invited eighty party r members from, twenty^twn: east- 
ern and. midwestern; states to come to Rushville for a-onerday 
conference. Willfcie had rented a large brick house on North 
Harrison Street -with .a shady lawn to serve as 'his home until the 
campaign: caravan, should begin its tour of the United. States; 
On the fifth of September came the trek to Rushville, including 
Sinclair Weeks of Massachusetts, Samuel Pryor of Connecticut, 
James; F. Torrence of. Pennsylvania, David Ingalls oLOhio, and 
Harold Stassen of Minnesota. Homer Gapehait, residing only 
a few miles away in Indianapolis; was not invited. 

The Rushville conference was : calculated: to preserve: the 


"country-town spirit." A two-hour luncheon was served by the 
women of the Eastern Star, a fraternal organization. Then they 
all gathered on the Willkies' lawn, to listen to an informal and 
effective talk by the candidate. He urged his guests to take to 
heart the fact that he really was a Republican and indeed sup- 
ported the entire Republican ticket. Again, he stressed that the 
campaign was a "crusade" against the New Deal philosophy 
which threatened to undermine the traditions of American 

As usual, Willkie made an excellent impression upon his 
audience, but it accomplished little in ending the feud between 
the professional politicians and the amateurs. Nothing could 
placate the Republicans except the elimination of the amateurs 
from key positions on Willkie's staff. On his part, Willkie had 
been pricked by the cool response of the Republican leaders to 
his acceptance speech. This cleavage between Willkie and his 
party at the outset of the campaign foreshadowed trouble. 

At Rushville, furthermore, Willkie began to ponder the 
failure of the press to acclaim his acceptance speech. He recalled 
that Desvernine had suggested, while in Colorado, a professional 
speech writer. Smarting under the criticism of his own asso- 
ciates, he decided to try out a political writer. But he rejected 
the well-known names that Desvernine had proposed. Whether 
it was doubt as to their ability or whether it was a desire to be 
more independent in his selection is a moot point. The thing he 
actually did was so naive as to be almost unbelievable. Willkie 
wrote to Carol Hill, a literary agent in New York City, asking 
her to procure for him an expert political writer. This was an 
unusual request for her to handle, so she telegraphed Raymond 
Moley, who was then vacationing in California, for advice. 

Despite his amusement and perhaps even some irritation at 
this round-about approach for his help, Moley promptly recom- 
mended Elliott V. Bell, staff writer for the New York Times. 
Bell had drafted a number of speeches for Thomas E. Dewey 
when Dewey was District Attorney. When Moley returned to 
New York City on September 8, he found a distressed Bell 
awaiting him. Six precious weeks had slipped by, Bell pointed 
out, and it was almost time for the final speaking campaign to 
open. How could he take such an assignment? Moley tried to 


comfort him. Certainly he could do better than anyone else in 
the circumstances, Moley said. But Bell was not cheered. After 
an unsatisfactory long distance telephone call, Davenport has- 
tened to New York to convince Bell that he was the one person 
Willkie wanted for this work. Finally Bell relented and agreed 
to join the Willkie campaign special train. But quite frankly 
he told Davenport that it was all useless, that it was too late to 
begin the writing of speeches, and that in his estimation the 
campaign was already lost. Certainly this was not an auspicious 
beginning for the Willkie-Bell-Davenport team. 

In accord with traditional tactics in presidential campaigns, 
Willkie and his staff planned for a "swing around the country" 
in a special railroad train carrying the candidate and his wife 
and family, his staff of advisers and writers, local politicians 
who would board the train as it passed through their states, and 
finally a whole coterie of newspapermen and photographers. 
Stops would be made in principal cities for prepared speeches, 
but there were to be a large number of station stops also for a 
"few words" from the back end of the train. 

On September 12, the campaign cavalcade of fourteen cars 
called "The Pioneer" left Rushville. As Willkie stepped aboard 
the train, he shouted to reporters: "I am opposed by the most 
ruthless gang of buccaneers in history." 

In Chicago, the Willkie Special was met by a large delegation 
of Republicans including John Hamilton (chairman of the 
western campaign), Mrs. Bertha Baur (National Committee- 
woman for Illinois), Dwight Green (Illinois gubernatorial can- 
didate), C. Wayland Brooks (senatorial candidate) and Werner 
Schroeder (National Committeeman). On this memorable Fri- 
day, the thirteenth, Willkie made four appearances. 

The first stop was at the Union Stock Yards, where three 
thousand persons were lined up waiting for a look at Willkie. 
They were stolid and silent men who listened respectfully but 
without enthusiasm. Many of the workmen had come to the 
speech directly from the slaughter-houses wearing their soiled 
and blood-stained aprons. Despite the stench and surroundings, 
Willkie made an earnest plea. It was obvious, however, that he 
made few converts in the district of Chicago whose grimness had 
been pictured thirty years earlier in the novels of Upton Sinclair. 


Leaving the stockyards, Willkie was taken to the Wilson 
Packing Company plant where about a thousand workers 
greeted him. He told these men that i he were elected President 
he would "create jobs instead of spinach." Referring to the 
European situation, he said that he had been a soldier and thus, 
if elected, he would see to it that no American boy would be 
sent to the "shambles of a European trench." This was a match 
for Roosevelt's "again and again and again" pledge -that he 
would never send American boys to fight in foreign wars. 

At his third stop, an audience of thirty thousand awaited 
him. This was at die Western Electric Company, located just 
outside Chicago in the town of Cicero. Willkie started his speech 
bravely. He began: "Now that we're in Chicago" He got no 
further. Some rowdy in the crowd yelled out, "Not Chicago, 
this is Cicero." Willkie grinned. "All right," he replied. "To 
hell with Chicago!" Within twenty-four hours, the unfortunate 
language, intended in .humor, appeared on the front page of 
almost every newspaper in the United States. Chicagoans who 
viewed Cicero as a town :of gangsters were piqued, religious 
persons everywhere were shocked, and conservatives were ren- 
dered apprehensive of a candidate who would indulge in such 
reckless expressions. Newsmen accounted this episode. as one of 
the worst blunders of the campaign. 

Thereafter his associates on the Special listened to every 
speech in cold dread of what he might say. To a man like Willkie 
who was used to extemporaneous speaking and who even had 
a reputation for sparkling repartee from the platform, strict 
conformity to a script proved to be practically impossible. 

Later in the day he addressed an audience of eight thousand 
Negroes assembled at the American Giants Baseball Park on 
Chicago's South Side. He promised them that, if elected, he 
would labor to eliminate discrimination of race and religion. 
The colored audience showed little enthusiasm. Indeed, the 
only ovation of the day occurred when Willkie passed through 
the financial section of the city on LaSalle Street. A blizzard of 
ticker-tape showered down upon him as he stood in his open 
automobile. Men and women, leaning out of tall buildings, 
yelled to him a tumultuous welcome. The "white collar" deni- 


zens of Chicago had become ardent supporters of the new 
Republican leader. 

That evening, as the Willkie Special moved out of Chicago, 
the candidate's voice was husky. The first day of the campaign 
tour had been a long, fatiguing strain. He had refused to use 
a microphone as he was unused to the instrument and consid- 
ered it an obstruction to his method of speaking. The next 
principal objective was Coffieyville in Kansas, with train speeches 
along the way at Joliet, Ottawa, LaSalle, Peoria, Rock Island, 
and Davenport. With, each back-platform speech, Willkie's voice 
became more strained until by the time he reached Rock Island 
he could only whisper to the crowd: "The spirit is willing but 
the voice is weak." 

At Peoria, Willkie again departed from script. He tried to 
reply to a jibe made by Henry A. Wallace that the Republican 
Party was "the party of appeasement." In his excitement he 
said: "Roosevelt is the great appeaser. At Munich what was 
Franklin Roosevelt doing? Was he standing up, fighting for 
democracy? Oh, nol He was telephoning Hitler and Mussolini 
and Chamberlain, urging them to sell Czechoslovakia down the 
river." The charge was, of course, not warranted. Roosevelt had 
made a bid for peace an inconsequential bid, for he had 
nothing tangible to offer in the way of a threat. But in no sense 
could it be characterized as a proposal to dismember- Czecho- 
slovakia. Elliott Bell and Raymond Leslie Buell who was on 
the train as the adviser on foreign affairs, were frantic. They 
hastened to issue a statement to explain that what Willkie really 
meant was that Roosevelt had urged a settlement at Munich 
but that the Munich Pact actually had "sold Czechoslovakia 
down the river." To prevent the recurrence of such errors, Bell 
prepared notes for Willkie to use for his platform speeches. 
Never once did the candidate use these briefs. He would ad-lib 
from what he could remember of previous speeches or even 
the punch-lines of the next major address. On one occasion 
Willkie told a wayside audience that the American people were 
paying money into social security as into a bankrupt insurance 
company. When Bell took issue with him over such a reckless 
statement, the candidate replied: "I just can't get my ideas across 


if I go into all the ramifications of what I mean." Yet such 
mistakes brought charges from the Democrats that Willkie was 
addicted to careless and inaccurate statements. 

As his throat condition became worse, so did the anxiety 
among his associates on the Willkie Special. They pleaded with 
him not to speak to the crowds that gathered at the railway 
stations, but merely to wave them a greeting. Willkie protested 
that the people had come to hear him talk and he did not want 
to disappoint them. Meanwhile, a telegram had been sent to 
Dr. Harold D. Barnard, a Hollywood throat specialist, who was 
flown from California by Robert Montgomery, the movie star 
and a warm friend of the candidate, and who met the train on 
Sunday at Kansas City. When the eminent physician confronted 
the patient he was greeted by a cold glare. 

"Lean back and open your mouth," said Dr. Barnard. 

"Go to hell and take your tools with you," growled Willkie 
in a rispy whisper. 

Dr. Barnard looked at him a moment and said calmly, "Per- 
sonally, I don't give a damn. But that throat of yours right now 
is the only way some twenty million Americans can express 
themselves. Lean back!" 

Willkie looked at the doctor, suddenly grinned, and opened 
his mouth. Dr. Barnard relieved anxiety on the Willkie Special 
by his announcement that there was no throat infection but only 
some badly strained vocal chords. He ordered the patient not 
to speak again until he reached Coffeyville. That evening as the 
train left Kansas City, Willkie bumped his way forward to the 
press car. He sat down with the reporters and rasped: "Anybody 
here got a cigarette? They won't let me have one back there." 
He explained there was really nothing wrong with him, he was 
just a little hoarse. Apparently he was the only one on the train 
who was not concerned over his condition and the possibility 
that the entire campaign tour might have to be canceled. One 
reporter described him as every bit as cocky as "an unbroken 
college freshman." 

The speech at Coffeyville on Monday afternoon, the sixteenth 
speech on the tour, was to be the first big speech of the campaign, 
with a national radio hookup. Coffeyville had been selected by 
Russell Davenport because Willkie had once taught there. Not- 


withstanding the experience at Elwood, he still wanted to dra- 
matize the American small town. Coffeyville, therefore, was to 
be a symbol of all towns. Furthermore, it was planned to show 
how the New Deal had injured this fine little community in 
the Midwest, by its public power program. Then it was discov- 
ered that Coffeyville had a very successful municipal electric 
system, and from its profits had paid the entire cost of street 

This discovery required that the pattern of the speech be 
quickly changed. Instead of talking about public utilities, Will- 
kie shifted to a discussion of dictatorship. From miles around, 
people came to hear him. Fifty thousand countryfolk jammed 
the ball park,, now called Willkie Park, to listen to the Wizard 
of Wall Street. On this occasion, he made no departure from 
his script. Moreover, his voice had greatly improved by the rest 
and treatment of the past twenty-four hours. He gave a fine 
performance. In fact, his delivery was much better than at 

On Monday evening, Willkie spoke at Tulsa, Oklahoma. A 
crowd of forty thousand whooped and hollered a welcome to 
him. Willkie made a special appeal here to Democrats to vote 
for him. "For the life of me," he said, "I cannot see why any 
real Democrat would vote against me. Every Democrat ought 
to applaud me for this crusade, for upholding the two term 
tradition. Surely, no Democrat will vote against me who believed 
in the 1932 Democratic platform. I believed in it then. I voted 
for it. I still believe in it." 

Traveling on the Willkie Special was a corps of top-ranking 
newspapermen, a research staff, and a secretarial staff. There was 
a valet-barber, a radio coach, and the throat specialist. The top 
echelon advisers were Russell Davenport and Raymond Buell. 
Unhappily, Buell took ill with pneumonia and left the train a 
few days out of Chicago. He was replaced by Brooks Emeny. 
The second group of advisers included Elliott V. Bell, Pierce 
Butler, Jr., and John B. Hollister. Butler was one of the Demo- 
crats-for- Willkie leaders. He wrote a few speeches but mostly 
handled the wire stories. The routing of the tour was the work 
of Harold J. Gallagher. Only two regular Republicans were on 
the train: Hollister and Hztlleck. Hollister had been assigned 


to the Willkie Special as the official representative of the 
National Republican Committee. 

The candidate's family included his wife Edith, his son Philip, 
and two brothers, Edward and Fred. Fred was on the Special 
only for .a few days. Mrs. Willkie became a favorite with the 
crowds that met the train for platform speeches. Frequently she 
was called for by the crowd before it was quite time to present 
her. Although she never spoke a word, her gracious smile and 
friendly manner were highly satisfying. Edward was, the official 
greeter of visitors aboard the Willkie .Special when the candidate 
was otherwise occupied. 

.Practically all. speeches were written on the .train. Bell had 
explaiined when he first joined the Willkie Special that the 
proper way to write campaign speeches was for several writers 
to sit down with the candidate, discuss their ideas, and then 
separate to write drafts which .the candidate, must then go over 
to make appropriate changes. There must be continual discus- 
sion between writer and candidate that each might understand 
the views and objectives of the other. During the entire six 
weeks' tour, Bell talked with Willkie only five times, and then 
never under the conditions that he had proposed. 

Accordingly, the staff wrote speeches based on the writer's 
own surmises of what the candidate wanted to say. Immediately 
after completion, all speeches were delivered to Davenport who 
sought to "improve" them. After the .poet had partly ruined 
half a dozen good speeches by .his fine writing, .Pierce Butler 
upbraided Davenport and beseeched him to let the speeches 
alone. .Davenport was highly offended. 

Bell was attempting to write one speech after another. Occa- 
sionally he received some relief from Bartley Cram, of San 
Francisco, or Pierce Butler. On one occasion, after Roosevelt 
had attacked Willkie, the candidate announced that a reply 
would be made the following day at ten o'clock over a national 
hookup. So close was the margin of time that Bell was still 
writing the speech and rushing the pages to the microphone 
as Willkie was talking. 

The candidate continued to improvise, and thereby often 
ruined the sequence of ideas in an otherwise good speech. 
Rarely did Willkie read an address aloud before giving it. This 


was partly due to the lack of time and the general .confusion; 
and partly because he failed to understand the need for re- 
hearsal. As a result, he frequently placed the emphasis in the 
wrong place, with the result that his audience would often 
cheer the wrong sentiments. 

From Tulsa, the cavalcade proceeded towards the Southwest, 
through New Mexico and Arizona to California. Three princi- 
pal speeches were scheduled for California; San Diego on 
September 18, Los Angeles on the following evening, and San 
Francisco on the twenty-first. Between these engagements were 
numerous short speeches often delivered from an automobile. 
California had been termed a "doubtful state." 

Thirty thousand spectators gathered at Lane Field Baseball 
Park, San Diego. As Willkie stood on the platform ready to 
speak, a single voice sang out, "We want Roosevelt 1" Instantly, 
Willkie flashed back: "There you are, one in a hundred thou- 
sand and they are growing fewer every :day." The crowd was 
delighted and responded with prolonged cheering. California 
gave Willkie the largest crowds and .the loudest cheers thus far 
received on the tour. The warmth, the acclaim, and the homage 
were beyond expectations. To observers it looked as if all the 
handsome candidate had to do to win the state was to ride 
through the towns and villages in an open car waving his hand 
to the welcoming throngs. 

At Los Angeles, Willkie was met with exuberant enthusiasm. 
On Wednesday evening, seventy thousand people filled the 
Coliseum. A Hollywood entrance had been arranged for the 
candidate. His car was held at the mouth of the tunnel leading 
directly onto the field. When he was introduced as the "next 
President of the United States," the candidate and Mrs. Willkie 
rode into the dark arena with spotlights illuminating the car as 
it crossed the field. The crowd rose and began to chant, "We 
want Willkie." The band of the Hollywood Legion Post played, 
"California Here I Come" and "Back Home in Indiana." 
When he mounted the platform, the band played, "Hail, Hail, 
the Gang's All Here," with the crowd joyously singing the 
chorus. The press declared it was the greatest ovation ever re- 
ceived at any time by any candidate in Los Angeles. 

Willkie discussed business and taxes. It was not what this 


cheering, gay, ebullient audience wanted. They were in the 
mood for gag-lines and slam-bang oratory. After ten minutes, 
the audience began to trickle away. The speech, unfortunately, 
was not in tune with the theatrical setting. 

More successful was the speech delivered at San Francisco on 
the twenty-first. Willkie quoted the powerful words of Winston 
Churchill spoken in 1937: "There is one way above all others 
in which the United States can aid the European democracies. 
Let her regain and maintain her normal prosperity." 

Meanwhile, confusion on the Willkie Special increased. The 
jealous conflict between the amateurs and the politicians reached 
its height in California. Members of the Willkie Clubs vied 
with the politicians for preferment even in boarding the train 
and riding the fifty or hundred mile stretch allotted to local 
leaders. Although the Willkie Clubs had been a unique and 
powerful agency before the Philadelphia Convention, they had 
since become an increasing liability. One of the experienced 
Democrats-for-Willkie plainly told the candidate that they had 
become a vicious influence in the campaign. They lacked the 
discipline and responsibility of the party organization. Some- 
times even, a discontented party member who had been booted 
out of the Republican organization gained control of a local 
Willkie Club. On one occasion, the head of a Willkie Club, 
forced out a Republican Party member who thereupon devoted 
his time to the election of the Governor. This candidate won the 
election by a majority of one hundred thousand votes while 
Willkie lost the state by some twenty thousand. 

It had been expected by the politicians that these clubs would 
be co-ordinated under Republican leadership during the cam- 
paign. But Oren Root resisted all such attempts, and in loyalty 
to him, Willkie allowed his campaign to be injured while the 
clubs continued to function as an amateur organization. 

So great, indeed, was the confusion that Elliott Bell consid- 
ered the campaign hopeless and in San Francisco explained to 
Davenport that he was leaving the train to return to New York. 
He had been grinding out speeches day and night since leaving 
Rjzshville, yet he rarely had a moment with the candidate to 
discuss ideas or policies. He felt he was caught in a stultifying 
position. Davenport was distressed. He urged Bell to remain to 


the end of the campaign, as otherwise gossip would say that he 
left in a pique. Reluctantly Bell agreed but inwardly he writhed 
in indignation over the chaotic situation under which he had 
to work. 

From California, the Willkie Special rolled on to Portland, 
where another major speech was scheduled. This was the terri- 
tory of Willkie's running mate, Senator Charles L. McNary. 
It was also the section containing the Grand Coulee Dam 
project which had proved extremely popular in the Northwest. 
The speech writers decided that the locale required an address 
on public utilities. Accordingly, the candidate delivered a speech 
which was regarded in some quarters as an abandonment of 
his former position on public utilities. He said: "The people 
in the area affected should determine whether this power is 
distributed through private or publicly owned local utilities." 

It was also in Portland that Willkie began the reckless series 
of promises for which he was castigated by the press. The Gallup 
polls showed that he was losing the campaign. Therefore he was 
urged to make specific commitments. As a consequence, he 
promised to maintain the Wagner Labor Relations Act under 
whose rigid clauses all industry was suffering. Willkie promised 
to expand social security. He promised to combine soil con- 
servation, commodity loans, rural electrification, farm credit 
and crop insurance. He promised to give a place in the Cabinet 
to the Northwest. He promised to call a national conference of 
farmers, labor and industry to plan national prosperity. He 
promised to revise and make more equitable the tax laws. He 
promised to maintain for the people the gains made in public 
power. Lastly, he promised to provide jobs for every man and 
woman in the United States willing to work and to continue 
public relief to those who could not work. 

In addition to such specific pledges, he promised that his 
crusade would culminate in building a new America with higher 
standards of life than "we have ever dreamed of before." Finally 
at Yonkers, New York, he said: "I pledge a new world." As one 
of his disappointed Wall Street friends said: "He suddenly 
tried to out-promise Roosevelt, and that was like trying to ost- 
Santa-Glaus Santa Glaus." 

From Portland, the Willkie Special stopped only at Seattle 


before turning eastward with scheduled speeches in Omaha, 
Madison and Yonkers. The address at Madison was considered 
by correspondents as the best of the tour. The amateurs had 
failed, however, to have it radioed to the nation. The address 
was delivered. at the Field House on the campus of the Uni- 
versity of Wisconsin where the candidate was awaited by a 
heckling, howling mob of students and townspeople. At the 
outset, he captivated his young listeners by referring to the 
early evening broadcast of the Democratic Party which made 
two serious charges against him: first, that he frequently split 
his infinitives, and second, that Katharine Hepburn opposed 
him. "I plead guilty," he said, "to the charge of splitting in- 
finitives. I also have occasional trouble with the accusative case. 
As for the charge that Miss Hepburn is against me, I can only 
say that Mary Pickford, Robert Montgomery and Walter 
O'Keefe are on my side." The students loudly cheered. Willkie 
always made a special appeal to young people, and his speech 
this evening had been especially geared to suit their tempera- 
ment. They loved it. He ended the tumult and the jeering 
almost with his first sentence. From then on the audience 
was his. 

He enjoyed historical references. In the afternoon of the same 
day, he delighted a mid-western audience with a summary of 
celebrated Democrats who undoubtedly would give him their 
blessing. Jefferson opposed the grant of far-reaching powers to 
the federal Government, he said. At the same time, Jefferson 
strongly believed that the presidential office should be limited 
to two terms. On these grounds Willkie claimed the support of 
all Jeffersonian Democrats. "As for Andrew Jackson," continued 
Willkie, "he balanced the budget, and even eliminated the 
national debt. Surely all Andrew Jackson Democrats should 
vote for me." Governor Grover Cleveland was opposed to 
centralization of power in Washington and he refused to run 
for a third term. Consequently "No Cleveland Democrat should 
vote against me," said Willkie. William Jennings Bryan was 
opposed to concentration of federal power. "No Bryan Demo- 
crat should vote against me," added Willkie. Woodrow Wilson 
held that the function of the state in the governing of men was 


to see that they did not prey upon each other. Accordingly, 
"No Woodrow Wilson Democrat should vote against me." 

Willkie had telephoned Hamilton at his headquarters in 
Chicago to meet him in Madison and to continue with the 
Willkie Special to New York. This Hamilton did. Shortly after 
the train left Madison, therefore, Willkie sent for him to come 
back to his Pullman car. Stretching out on the bed for a little 
rest, Willkie opened the conversation. He asked Hamilton to 
take back the full chairmanship of the National Committee, 
because, he said, Joe Martin had double-crossed him. 

Hamilton refused even to consider the resumption of the 
chairmanship. The pattern of the campaign was already set, he 
explained. If it were successful, Martin should get the credit, 
and, if a failure, Hamilton should not take the blame. Moreover, 
Willkie was in error in his belief that Martin had betrayed 
him, he said. His appointment as national chairman in the. first 
place, said Hamilton, had been a mistake. No man should be 
asked to run a campaign who had to maintain his own voting 
record. Martin's ambition was aimed at securing the speakership 
of the House of Representatives. Thus, Martin's first loyalty 
was to his own constituency rather than to Willkie. On the 
other hand, Hamilton told him, it would be foolhardy from a 
personal standpoint to turn Martin out at this time. If Willkie 
should be elected President, said Hamilton, Martin would 
become Speaker of the House. How much co-operation would 
lie then receive from Martin? 

"Well," said Willkie, "the organization is disloyal to me." 
Again Hamilton scoffed. They were not disloyal to him, he 
explained. A leader receives from party workers the loyalty he 
himself exhibits. "They will work for you and they will vote 
for you. But your lack of confidence in them will cost you six 
hours of work on election day," he chided. When a precinct 
captain is enthusiastic about his candidate, he works from six 
until six. But if he is not enthusiastic he does only poll duty. 
The result in this case would be the loss of from five to seven 
votes per precinct, which may cost the election, Hamilton 

"But why," persisted Willkie, "is the organization so opposed 


to me? Herbert Hoover used amateurs in his campaign of 1928." 
Patiently Hamilton explained the wide difference. The ama- 
teurs in the Hoover campaign tied in with the regular organi- 
zation. When an old-timer went into the headquarters and 
began to look around, feeling strange, an experienced party man 
suddenly appeared from nowhere and greeted him with a warm 
handshake and taking him by the arm whispered in his ear that 
he would find "the boys" over at the Mayflower Hotel. Thus 
the regular party men were made to feel welcome. But Willkie 
seemed unable or unwilling to grasp the political angle of such 
an arrangement. 

Although the hour was now late, Willkie wanted to discuss 
Pew. What should be done about the arrogant Pennsylvania 
boss who had quit the campaign to go on a fishing trip at his 
summer home in New Brunswick? Hamilton advised him either 
to make peace with Pew or to denounce him openly. "In the 
case of Pew, you only told reporters you didn't like him. Thus 
you are not getting his support, and, at the same time, you are 
not winning the support of his enemies." 

Willkie agreed that it was the best policy to make peace with 
Pew. "But what shall I do?" he asked. Hamilton suggested send- 
ing Pew a telegram. "All right," said Willkie, "you send him 
a telegram and tell him I will be at the Commodore Hotel 
[Republican headquarters] this week-end. He can sneak up the 
back way and no one will see him." 

Hamilton slowly shook his head. That was hardly the way to 
do it. He reminded the candidate that when he kicked Pew 
aside on Tuesday following the convention, the act was per- 
formed before reporters at a press conference. Pew could hardly 
be expected to come back at this date except by an open invita- 
tion from Willkie himself, said Hamilton. As a result of this 
conversation, Pew was given an invitation to board the Willkie 
Special when it reached New York. Pew accepted and, as he 
ostentatiously passed through the corridor of Grand Central 
Station to join Willkie, he saw to it that newspaper reporters 
followed his triumphal approach to the Republican candidate. 

The first leg of the swing around the country was scheduled 
to end with a speech on September twenty-eighth at the Empire 
City Race Track at Yonkers in New York. On the eastward 


journey, the Willkie Special had been slowed down by engine 
trouble so that Willkie left the train at Syracuse, and flew to 
Yonkers. The state Republican Convention had convened in 
that city, and forty-five thousand good Republicans waited 
impatiently for his arrival. His car drove into the floodlights of 
the race track at four minutes to nine o'clock, the appointed 
hour of his speech. The crowd recognized him and yelled their 
welcome. When he finished speaking, the delighted throng 
would not let him leave the platform but called him back four 
times for encore speeches. 

After the Yonkers meeting, Willkie drove to the town apart- 
ment of Samuel Pryor. Here John L. Lewis awaited the candi- 
date. The bristling president of the United Mine Workers of 
America and founder of the Congress of Industrial Organiza- 
tion had exhausted the bounty of Roosevelt and now was eager 
for personal revenge. Willkie was not adverse to winning the 
support of the angry labor czar. It would be folly to reject the 
labor support which Lewis might swing to the Republican 
ticket, he thought. After listening to an astonishing tirade on 
F.D.R. by the labor leader, Willkie hastened to make his own 
position clear. He would not surrender to any group in either 
labor or management, or favor one side against the other as had 
Roosevelt during the past eight years. While he stood for gov- 
ernmental impartiality as between labor and management, he 
would seek to correct the discrimination then existing in the 
National Labor Relations Board against management. In turn, 
he would always maintain the right of collective bargaining as 
one of the pillars of American economic freedom, and he agreed 
that a large part of the Wagner Act could properly be viewed 
as a fundamental charter of labor. 

The hours ticked by. Conversation droned on till early morn- 
ing. Pryor dozed in his chair. Finally, Lewis leaned forward, 
and, with a note of finality, declared: "If you will say publicly 
what you have said to me now, I will support you." 

Willkie promptly replied: "Where do you want me to say it?" 

"In your Pittsburgh speech," the shrewd Lewis replied. 

"Agreed," said the candidate. 

Willkie was enthusiastic over the sudden conversion of Lewis. 
He thought Lewis could swing him the CIO labor vote. On the 


other hand, Willkie's advisers could muster small interest in 
the accession o Lewis and some of them were plainly distraught. 
Hamilton, who had remained in New York for several days, 
was much concerned over the matter. He told the candidate that 
it would be disastrous to have Lewis speak, as it would offend 
the American Federation of Labor. Furthermore, three Re- 
publican governors had recently been elected because of their 
opposition to left-wing labor. If ever a man went down on his 
knees, Hamilton later disclosed, he did at this time in an effort 
to dissuade Willkie from association with Lewis. Thereafter, 
Governor John W. Bricker cooled perceptibly towards the cam- 
paign. Many other leading Republicans were exasperated. Gov- 
ernor Arthur James of Pennsylvania never made another speech 
for Willkie. 

Lewis demanded opportunity to make an hour's address on 
a hookup which would cost $45,000 in radio fees, 
while he refused to speak under the. sponsorship of the Re- 
publican National Committee. The Democrats-for-Willkie were 
reluctant to sponsor Lewis and to accept the financial, burden. 
Eventually, the argument that Lewis might swing four million 
votes to the Republican side won the day and they agreed to 
pay for radio time. It was settled that Lewis should speak from 
Washington on: October 25. 

On the following: day, Willkie again, boarded his special. train 
for Detroit,. Grand Rapids, Cleveland; and finally Pittsburgh, 
where he was scheduled to give his labor speech on Ofctober 3. 
A motor tour through Pontiac, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids 
impressed. Willkie as never before with: the bitterness of the 
class hatred, which had developed in America; in seven short 
years. Workmen leaned out of the factory windows as his car 
passed by to 4 boo defiance at him.. At Pontiac he spoke in the 
town square to an-, audience that listened in a sullen, mood. As 
he finished speaking, hoodlums began to throw eggs at him. 
One struck Willkie. in the face and another spattered, Edith 
Willkie. as she was to enter the car* Willkie swung, around 
fiercely to see from whence it came. He had taken in. stride the 
missiles thrown at him, but his anger, flared when the rowdies 
aimed at Mrs* Willkie. There- was. a tense moment- But Edith 
smiled and began to hand out roses from the large bouquet in 


her arms to the small boys near by. The newsmen, who adored 
her, had started to close in to protect her, but now relaxed. 
One of them voiced the opinion of all when he said: "There's a 
little champion." 

Willkie rejoined his special train at Grand Rapids. As the 
train pulled out of the siding, a rock was hurled through a 
window. For the first time in more than a generation, an election 
campaign had become a matter of physical assault. Edward J. 
Flynn spoke for the Democratic Party when he said that he 
hoped the guilty persons would be punished. Congress passed 
a resolution in condemnation of such .rowdyism, and President 
Roosevelt himself denounced as reprehensible the action of 
persons who threw missiles at the Republican candidate. At the 
same time, it was soon evident that every egg .and every stone 
thrown at Willkie meant thousands of votes for the Republican 

While in Michigan, Willkie took occasion to reply to a speech 
made by Governor Herbert H. Lehman, of New York, on Sep- 
tember thirtieth, before the Democratic State Convention. The 
Governor had declared that nothing could give greater satis- 
faction to Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and the Japanese militarists 
than the defeat of Roosevelt by Willkie. In reply, Willkie 
charged Lehman with false, malicious and subversive innuendo. 
Resort to jsuch language in .the present world crisis, he con- 
tended, threatened the safety of all Americans. If the Presidents 
party branded all opponents as Nazis and Fascists, it would be 
but another step for the President to prohibit the existence of 
any political opposition in the United States as inimical to the 
Government in office. 

The Governor made no apology or retraction. Other mem- 
bers of the Democratic Party were less subtle in their efforts to 
link Willkie to the Hitler menace. A short time later, Henry A. 
Wallace, candidate for the vice-presidency, declared in a public 
address: "The Nazi support of Wendell Willkie is part of Adolf 
Hitler's plan to weaken and eventually conquer the United 
States. A Republican victory in November is a necessity for the 
dictator's plans to overthrow our peace and our liberties." On 
the eve of the election, Chairman Edward J. Flynn released a 
statement to the press stating that "Every Nazi and Fascist 


organization in the United States is for the Republican presi- 
dential candidate." Dorothy Thompson announced over the 
Columbia Broadcasting System that "A vote for Wendell Will- 
kie is a vote for fascism." 

Never, since the campaign of 1860, when the Southern Demo- 
crats flung the grossest libels against Abraham Lincoln, had 
American presidential politics sunk to such a low level. This 
"smear" was the more reprehensible inasmuch as the Repub- 
lican candidate had refused to take advantage of the unpopu- 
larity of the President's position on foreign policy. The Selective 
Training and Service Act was most unpopular. But Willkie 
gave full support to the draft. The President had strained his 
constitutional powers by his military aid to Great Britain in 
the transfer of fifty American destroyers. Willkie raised no point 
of criticism. A less patriotic candidate would have unleashed the 
fury of the isolationism of the Midwest against an Administra- 
tion committed to such explosive issues. 

On the way to Cleveland, the Willkie Special stopped at 
Toledo, Ohio. Willkie detrained at Sylvania and drove into the 
city through the industrial area. Here he found the same ex- 
pressions of hostility that had been exhibited by the workers in 
the factory towns in Michigan. As his car passed along the streets, 
men in their soiled work-clothes and women in greasy slacks 
shook their firsts at him and bellowed epithets. Crudely lettered 
signs were held aloft, saying: "Roosevelt Forever," "Win What 
with Willkie?" and "To Hell with Willkie." Through the 
long line of mocking hecklers, Willkie maintained a stiff set 
smile. He believed that he could win these men if only he could 
talk to them as man to man. In his Toledo speeches as well as in 
Michigan he pleaded with the unruly toilers to lend him their 
ears and to open their minds to his words. "Please listen to me 
on the radio, please listen to me before you decide," he im- 
plored. "If we go down this New Deal road, democracy will 
disappear. Please listen to me. Don't let them lead you like cattle 
to the shambles. Boos don't hurt me. All I ask is a square shake." 

At Cleveland, a more receptive audience awaited him. There 
were enormous crowds, hysterical ovations and frantic applause. 
But, too frequently now, Willkie had wasted his energies on 
addresses to small audiences of workmen and was tired and 


exhausted when he appeared before large and responsive audi- 
ences. His fatigue showed itself in his voice. He hurried one 
sentence on top of another; he slurred his words so that the 
sense was sometimes lost. The Cleveland address was intended 
to be his most important speech on foreign policy. Yet its de- 
livery was almost a failure. Today, the speech reads far better 
than it sounded in Cleveland. 

An audience of thirty thousand had gathered in Forbes Field 
in Pittsburgh to hear him. In Washington, John L. Lewis 
awaited the speech before making his declaration of support. 
Willkie chose the text of his address from the words of Abra- 
ham Lincoln: " 'Labor is prior to and independent of capital. 
Capital is only the fruit of labor, could never have existed if 
labor had not first existed. Labor is, therefore, the superior of 
capital and deserves much higher consideration/ " Then he 
declared, "I stand with Abraham Lincoln. I have earned my 
bread by the sweat of my brow and I know, as well as any man, 
the strong bond that unites those who labor. But this bond 
should not lead to war on business, or upon property. Because, 
as Lincoln also said: 'Property is the fruit of labor; property is 
desirable; it is a positive good in the world. Let not him who is 
houseless pull down the house of another but let him work dili- 
gently and build one for himself, thus by example, assuring that 
his own will be safe when built/ " 

On this thesis Willkie proceeded to extend his own position. 
"I stand," he said, "for a democratic society resting on the Bill 
of Rights and a system of private property with full rights for 
labor. I subscribe without reservation to the principle of collec- 
tive bargaining by representatives of labor's own free choice. 
I stand for maximum wages and minimum hours and for legis- 
lation to enforce them. I stand for social security benefits and I 
believe that they should be extended to other groups/' He 
declared his labor program included a conciliation service under 
the federal Government, labor representation in the councils of 
the Government, enforcement of a minimum wage in the South, 
extension of legislation to regulate maximum hours, and decen- 
tralized activities of the federal Government. But he also ad- 
monished labor leaders that they must eliminate the racketeer 
from the unions and that labor must work with management for 


a cooling-off period in all company contracts. The program was 
a moderate plan of labor-management relations.' But it probably 
gained few votes for Willkie. It satisfied neither labor nor 

The Lewis speech, which soon followed, was a great disap- 
pointment to Willkie and more especially to the professional 
politicians. Too obviously his support of the Republican candi- 
date was based entirely on his spleen towards the President. His 
pettish threat to resign as president of the CIO in case Roosevelt 
were re-elected was castigated by labor leaders in every section 
of the country. Newsmen thought that the speech actually in- 
jured the Republican campaign. Hamilton was certain that it 
did. He was in New York when the speech was made and heard 
it over the radio in his room at the Waldorf-Astoria. As he was 
leaving his room immediately afterwards to return to western 
headquarters, a telegram was delivered to him. It was from a 
prominent labor leader and read: "After tonight I cannot do 
anything to help your boy." 

Ever and constantly the advice of the regular politician was 
spurned and the advice of the amateur accepted. Old friends, 
neutral observers of the trend, tried to warn Willkie that he was 
courting disaster, but to no avail. As one wag expressed it, 
"Trying to give Willkie advice is just as effective as giving 
castor oil to the Sphinxl" 

Moreover, there were numerous slights to leading Repub- 
licans in every state through which the Willkie Special passed. 
On one such occasion, a particularly important man came aboard 
the train. Hamilton had labored strenuously to interest him 
in the Republican Party and had finally succeeded in getting 
him to accept the chairmanship of the Finance Committee of 
the Republican Party in his state. The man, furthermore, had 
contributed liberally to the national as well as to the state chest. 
One day Hamilton received a sharp telephone call from this 
man. He had been on the Willkie Special for two days and two 
nights and had not yet met the candidate. He was quitting the 
train therefore, and he was going to resign as finance chairman, 
too. Hamilton conciliated him and said there had been some 
mistake, and that he would clear everything up in an hour. He 


then telephoned Davenport and explained the situation to him. 
"Oh," replied Davenport, "Willkie is too busy to be bothered 
with shaking hands with all those people!" 

Even Sam Pryor, his good friend and eastern manager, was 
given the brush-off. Early in the campaign, Pryor sent Willkie 
a telegram on behalf of Bruce Barton and several other party 
leaders saying that Barton felt further assistance should be given 
to the preparation of speeches. From Flint, Michigan, came the 
fiery reply. The candidate telegraphed that he would appreciate 
it very much if all supporters in New York would concentrate 
on building the organization in the East rather than giving so 
much concern to speeches. "Apparently Bruce Barton did not 
think my speech at the Republican Convention was any good. 
I thought his speech was lousy, but I was too courteous to tell 
him so. We can win if the organization will concentrate on 
organization and let me concentrate on the campaign." 

In Detroit, the Republican Party boss called at the hotel to see 
Willkie. Later, when his boys gathered around him to ask, 
"What kind of a guy is Willkie?" he had to answer, "Sorry, I 
didn't get to meet him!" Matters of this kind are most important 
to politicians. As John Hamilton so well knew: "It's the stuff 
that unites and binds the party together." It is what builds party 

Halleck quit the train when it arrived in New York after the 
Yohkers speech in anger and humiliation. He complained that 
he and his wife had not once been invited to the rear end of 
the train where the Willkie private headquarters were located. 
And never was his advice sought, or any of his suggestions acted 

The trip to New England became something of a riot. J. Wells 
Farley, a distinguished attorney in Boston, and a member of 
the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, arranged an auto- 
caravan tour through Massachusetts. Being a very methodical 
person, he had worked out a time schedule to the minute. But 
immediately after the Providence speech (October 10), Willkie 
was so exhausted that he asked Sinclair Weeks to telephone 
Farley and cancel the entire itinerary except the major speech at 
Boston on the following -evening. As a result, Farley sat up all 


night telephoning local leaders saying that Willkie would not 
be able to come, but he appreciated all their wonderful help and 

Quite early the following morning Willkie changed his mind 
again. He sent for Sinclair Weeks and told him to telephone 
Farley he would come after all. When Weeks relayed the mes- 
sage, Farley exploded. "Where are you now/* he barked, "Well, 
stay right there until I arrive. I will be there in less than one 
hour!" The train followed along with the automobile caravan 
and was used as headquarters for the candidate and his en- 
tourage. When Farley arrived at the train, Willkie was not yet 
dressed. As Farley waited in the back-end lounge of the Willkie 
suite, he impatiently beat a nervous tap with his foot. Pierce 
Butler wandered through the car and came upon him. "Will 
you tell me what goes on here?" asked Farley. "I will tell you," 
said the learned son of the former distinguished Supreme Court 
Justice. "This place is like a whore-house on a Saturday night 
when the madam is out, and all the girls are running around 
dropping nickels in the juke boxes!" 

The Willkie tour had been replete with political melodrama 
as well as amateur bungling. In the farm sections and the finan- 
cial centers the candidate was greeted by swarming crowds and 
fanatical enthusiasm. The inspirational quality of Willkie was 
an innovation in politics. The other side of the picture showed 
the candidate facing hostile audiences in the slums and factory 
districts, where even physical violence broke out, and where, 
in almost humble terms, he pleaded for a fair hearing. In all this 
there was a touch of revivalist fervor. The tour was in fact 
a crusade, and like all crusades there was an emotional ecstasy, 
a slay-the-dragon complex. 

Harold Gallagher ecstatically cried that "Willkie is God's 
gift to America." There were thousands who felt the same way. 
Strong, successful businessmen would come up to the candidate 
after a speech and ask to shake his hand. "You don't know what 
it means to me, Mr. Willkie, just to touch you," some would 
say. By such admirers he was looked upon as the bearer of the 
sacred torch, the prophet sent to lead the people. 

The final speech was at Madison Square Garden in New York 
City. This is the traditional ending to a presidential campaign. 


The occasion demands a dramatic and scintillating speech. 
Moreover Willkie was especially. desirous of a high-sounding 
speech. So in writing the speech, Bell put peroration first and 
persuasion second. 

Early Friday evening as the Special was speeding eastward for 
this last engagement, Bell read the finished speech to the small 
inner circle, Hollister, Butler, Davenport, and Willkie. As usual, 
at its conclusion, Davenport thought the speech needed a little 
touching up to improve it here and there. After the little con- 
clave broke up, Butler went to the "Chief and urged him not 
to let Davenport spoil this excellent speech as he had so many 
others. He asked Willkie to release the speech to the press at 

The candidate seemed convinced but decided first to talk to 
Bell and Davenport, alone. In this interview Willkie almost 
pleaded with Davenport to let well enough alone and not to 
make any changes. However, Bell was most generous and said 
that Davenport with his special touch might very well improve 
the speech as it was really the first draft anyway. Thereupon, 
Willkie slid out of the awkward situation by saying that the 
two of them should work it out together. 

When the two men sat down in the quiet of Bell's drawing 
room to talk over revision, Davenport suddenly jumped up 
exclaiming that he could not work that way. So he left Bell, 
taking the manscript with him. All night long he fiddled over 
the speech. When the train pulled into New York City the fol- 
lowing morning (Saturday) Davenport had finished it. But 
there was no time for any further revision or changes. It had to 
be released to the press immediately. It began: "This is the 
battle of America. The drums of victory are rolling, rolling, 
rolling. The thunderous drums of an aroused electorate are 
beating in the nation tonight. Victory, victory is on the march. 
... A free people now arise to write a single word across the 
vast American sky: Liberty, Liberty, Liberty!" 

However, as the New York Times wrote, it mattered little 
what the candidate said that night anyway because the vast up- 
roarious, crowd gave him an ovation at every pause. His voice 
was painfully hoarse, the candidate was fatigued, but the crowd 
was happy and enthusiastic. The people had begun to come to 


the Garden by 'four o'clock, some six hours before the candidate 
was scheduled to speak. When he arrived, punctually at 10:15, 
the great throng broke into one vast yelling, screaming; flag- 
waving body. For fifteen minutes as the precious radio time 
slowly slipped away, they cheered and would not be quieted by 
the chairman, Kenneth Simpson. It was a magnificent demon- 

The speech carried a refrain every few paragraphs: "This is 
the method of the New Deal. It is not the method of democracy." 
The crowd soon caught the reiteration and took, up the chant 
with him. It was; indeed, a wild, tumultuous, gay audience, 
thoroughly with the candidate in everything he said. 

The campaign was over. No other candidate had ever at- 
tempted to spread his message over so extensive a territory. It 
was the longest continuous campaign tour on record. Willkie 
had averaged six to ten speeches a day and sometimes as many 
as fifteen, and he had traveled thirty thousand miles. 

Willkie's glowing devotion to the cause of freedom did not 
prevent contradictions in his political creed. He had long advo- 
cated governmental economy. But at Los : Angeles he approved 
an increase in old-age pensions. This city was the home of the 
Townsend Plan and of the Ham and Egg Movement, and some 
critics said, that while campaigning in California Willkie had 
found it opportune to surrender to the crackpots. Willkie had 
repeatedly favored maximum aid to Britain, and China in their 
heroic struggle against totalitarian aggressors, but at San : Ber- 
nardino, he paid a glowing tribute to* Hiram Johnson,- long 
known for his isolationism, while the St. Louis speech was 
considered By- many observers as an appeal to the isolationist 
sentiment of the Middle West. For seven years he had fought 
public electric power, but at the Republican National Conven- 
tion in Philadelphia he accepted as his candidate for Vice- 
President, Charles McNary, who had loudly demanded public 
power projects for the Northwest. In the thirties, he had opposed 
wages and hours legislation as an interference with the tews of 
economics; in a free economic system, he had contended, the 
market determines such matters as wages and conditions of 
labor. Ifo the campaign of 1940, however, he accepted both 


Many of his old friends who had been his most ardent boosters 
before the Philadelphia Convention began to lose faith. His 
abrupt swings to the left disturbed them. It meant that the 
issues of the campaign were blurred. There was indeed a sharp 
difference between Willkie and the New Deal, but unhappily 
he never made it crystal clear to the voters. Willkie believed that 
a free economy was the most competent system to provide more 
jobs and a higher standard of living for all citizens of the United 
States. He believed that democracy and private enterprise were 
indispensable to each other and that both were imperiled by 
the New Deal experiments with collectivism. Free enterprise 
could not long survive either in a government atmosphere of 
hostility or under domination of federal control. Federal regu- 
lation yes, but not strangulation. Among economists, it was 
generally recognized that the Tennessee Valley Authority, the 
Social Security Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the 
Corporate-Surplus Tax were all part of a program for a con- 
trolled economy. 

Another issue of the campaign was the constitutional question 
of the third term, which, however, Willkie failed to exploit to 
the full. The Jeffersonian Democrats and the Democrats-for- 
Willkie supported Willkie primarily on the issue of the third 
term. Foreign policy was not an issue in the campaign. With 
the highest of patriotic motives, Willkie kept the questions of 
national defense and of aid to Great Britain out of the contest. 

The campaign had been waged under unusual difficulties. 
The imminence of war made many Americans loath to "change 
horses in midstream." Moreover, the party lacked funds. The 
distrust of Willkie by the professional politicians closed many 
sources of revenue and the strict interpretation of the Hatch Act 
was a severe handicap. Finally, there was the dissension within 
the Willkie organization. It was Gallagher who routed the cam- 
paign train across the country and who sent out the tickets for 
the visitors on the Willkie Special. Neither Hamilton, nor 
Pryor, nor any of the state Republican chairmen were ever con- 
sulted. The men who best knew the situation were never asked 
for advice or suggestions. In fact Hamilton learned about the 
campaign schedule for the West from the newspapers. 

Willkie was never an organization man. He was a star, a lone 


performer. Possessed of a dogged determination, he had a pas- 
sionate zeal and a lustrous flame and enthusiasm for any under- 
taking. But he lacked the understanding of group co-operation. 

His detachment from his party was a fatal blunder. He spent 
much time trying to convice the people that his policies and ob- 
jectives were very different from those of the Republican Party 
as represented in Congress. This lack of agreement and unity 
between Republicans in Congress and the presidential candi- 
date presented a sorry spectacle. He was attempting to reform 
the party and change its policy at the same time he was running 
a campaign. Even this he might have accomplished if he had 
taken some of the party's leaders into his confidence and worked 
through them. This, of course, he refused to do because he 
thought all politicians were tainted persons who had lost the 
confidence of the people. In effect he was asking the voter to 
believe in him and not in his party. Hence his emphasis upon 
the amateurs and the subordination of party men. 

Election day came on Tuesday, November fifth. After casting 
his ballot in the morning, Willkie spent most of the day in his 
suite on the fourteenth floor of the Commodore Hotel. The 
Commodore had been Republican Headquarters for the eastern 
division. In an adjacent suite, two news tickers were installed 
for the use of statisticians in compiling the election returns. As 
evening came on, the candidate secluded himself in one room 
of his suite with his brother Edward and John Hollister. From 
time to time, Mrs. Willkie and Philip would look in. But most 
of the evening the three men sat alone. In the room was a radio 
and a television set. While Willkie slumped in a chair with his 
feet propped on another chair, Edward fiddled with the tele- 
vision set, and Hollister made his own computations. Occa- 
sionally, the candidate arose, stretched himself, and stomped 
around the room, ran his hand through his hair, and lighted 
another cigarette. As the returns began to come in, he looked 
more and more grim. 

About eight o'clock, Hollister telephoned Robert Taft to see 
how the returns from Ohio were going. Hollister considered 
Ohio as a reliable barometer because that state was well organ- 
ized as a Republican stronghold. It it were going to Roosevelt, 
there would be little hope of carrying New York, Pennsylvania, 


Michigan or Illinois. To be successful, Willkie had to carry four 
out of five of these states. The Taft report was gloomy: the 
early returns indicated the state would go Democratic by 
100,000 votes. Hollister reported this to Willkie and urged him 
to concede the election at once. This Willkie stubbornly refused 
to do. "I can still win statistically," he argued. 

At eleven o'clock, the now unhappy Willkie heard Elmer 
Davis announce that Franklin Roosevelt "appears to have been 
re-elected." Willkie suddenly looked haggard. Shortly afterwards, 
he heard on the radio that Senator McNary, across the continent 
in Oregon, had conceded the election. For a moment Willkie 
looked stunned, but said nothing. He continued to cling grimly 
to the hope that late returns from the rural areas would over- 
come the Roosevelt lead. 

A few callers, in evening clothes, came to the Willkie suite. 
Among these were Tom Dewey, Russell Davenport and Roy 
Howard. Amidst the election gloom, Edith Willkie maintained 
her gracious poise and high spirits. Defeat did not frighten 
her. When the returns indicated clearly a Democratic victory she 
was heard to remark: "I wish Wendell would now get ready to 
go home." 

Shortly after midnight, Willkie left his suite to enter the 
Grand Ball Room where the campaign workers had gathered 
to listen to the returns. Earlier in the evening some five thou- 
sand party workers and visitors had waited patiently, but the 
number had now dwindled to barely fifteen hundred. The can- 
didate made a brief speech. He thanked his "fellow workers" 
for their loyalty and congratulated them on being part of the 
greatest crusade of the century. With head high he announced 
that he was neither afraid nor discouraged. Yet he refused to 
concede defeat. At one-thirty he announced to the press that 
he was going to bed and would make no statement until after 

Late on Wednesday morning, Willkie sent the overdue con- 
gratulatory telegram to Franklin Roosevelt at Hyde Park: "Con- 
gratulations on your re-election as President of the United 
States. I know that we are both gratified that so many American 
citizens participated in the election. I wish you all personal 
health and happiness. Cordially yours, Wendell Willkie." 


Election returns gave Roosevelt 27,243,466 and Willkie 
22,304,755 popular votes. The victory in the Electoral College 
was decisive. Roosevelt won thirty-eight states and Willkie only 
ten states. This gave F.D.R. 449 Presidential Electors, and 
Willkie 82. Willkie had polled the largest popular vote ever 
given a defeated candidate, or any Republican candidate. It was 
larger than the Hoover victory of 1928 by nearly one million 
votes. He carried only eight western states. He failed to carry 
New York, but he had the satisfaction of carrying Indiana. Of 
the ten million independent votes in the United States, however, 
Willkie secured but four million. 

The campaign was ended, but the crusade would go on. There 
was nothing faint-hearted about Willkie. He was a gallant 
figure defending proudly the ideas he believed right. 

He once told his good friend Roscoe Drummond: "If I could 
write my own epitaph I would choose, 'Here lies one who con- 
tributed to saving freedom at a moment of great peril.' " The 
presidency was secondary. 


The Leader of the 
Loyal Opposition 

THE MORNING after election night Willkie sat alone at his 
desk in the deserted Republican headquarters in the Commo- 
dore Hotel. The noise and excitement which had filled the 
crowded rooms during the past three months had abruptly 
ended at midnight. Now, in the cold atmosphere of the new 
day, Willkie wearily resigned himself to the bitterness of defeat. 
He was pondering the role that the rejected candidate should 
play in the national scene, when suddenly the door was pushed 
open and there, smiling, stood Sam Pryor. He had come to the 
headquarters because he guessed that the candidate would be 
alone with his dreary thoughts. Hiding his own disappointment, 
Pryor had arrived to offer good cheer. Yet he could not refrain 
from a little chiding. With his friendly broad grin, he said: 
"I shall never say this again, but you could have been President 
if you had worked with the party organization." 

After a pause he continued: "I have a small cottage on an 
island off the coast of Florida, I am going down there for a 



Willkie's eyes lighted with interest. "How big is your place? 
Big enough to include Edith and me?'* he eagerly asked. 

"Big enough for the four of us," replied the warm-hearted 

Two days later, Wendell and Edith were traveling with their 
hosts southward by airplane to Pryor's sunlighted retreat. The 
following days were decisive in the career of Wendell Willkie. 
Far from the scene of his struggle for the presidency, he found 
peace of mind. More than this, he was able to appraise his 
spiritual losses and gains, to review his seven-year battle against 
the New Deal, and to chart his course in the future. 

In retrospect, his contest with Franklin D. Roosevelt over the 
Tennessee Valley Authority now assumed a more significant 
role than the events of the past several months devoted to the 
presidential election. The struggle of free enterprise against 
planned economy had been a battle of giants. In his island 
sanctuary, Willkie reviewed every detail of the contest. He was 
justly proud of his part in this bitter struggle. He re-examined 
the principles on which he had waged his war with the New 
Deal and found them sound. He had won a partial victory in 
the struggle with the Roosevelt bureaucracy against great odds. 
He had shown the country that the dangers of Big Government 
were as serious as those of Big Business. Then, he had plunged 
into the exhausting presidential campaign. His nomination, he 
sincerely believed, was the manifestation of a popular move- 
ment. He was still leader of an irresistible public cause. He was 
convinced that the European war had warped the domestic 
problems out of their true perspective. The British evacuation 
at Dunkirk and the ensuing Battle of Britain had thoroughly 
alarmed the American people. He felt therefore that the elec- 
tion was not a vote for the New Deal program of the welfare 

This conclusion brought Willkie great peace of mind, together 
with an intense eagerness to renew the struggle against the New 
Deal. Although a defeated candidate, he possessed by tradition 
a claim to the leadership of the Republican Party. He now 
determined to assert that claim and at the same time to chart 
a fresh political program. Immediately after the election, thou- 
sands of letters from voters in all parts of the country had come 


to him urging that he continue the crusade for freedom and 
calling upon him to declare immediately his leadership of the 
Republican Party. These sincere citizens deserved a public 
answer. Willkie now decided to give a radio address on Armis- 
tice night. The National Broadcasting Company, the Columbia 
Broadcasting System and the Mutual Broadcasting System eag- 
erly donated their time for a nation-wide outlet for his speech 
to the American people. 

With Sam Pryor, the now refreshed Willkie returned by air- 
plane to New York. On the evening of November 11, a small 
group of friends gathered in the familiar suite on the eighth 
floor of the Hotel Commodore, where a broadcasting room had 
been set up. At ten o'clock the announcer spoke his lines. In a 
few seconds, the voice of Wendell Willkie reached an audience 
in every section of the country. Although he still spoke with a 
slight huskiness in his throat, his words were distinct and carried 
a vibrant message to all listeners. It was the greatest speech of 
his career. It has become one of the landmarks in American 

Constitutional government had been suppressed in almost a 
quarter of the globe, he said, but the men and women of the 
United States had preserved it here, in this country. Although 
it was a fundamental principle of this democratic system that 
the majority should rule, the American people should not for- 
get that the function of the minority was equally fundamental. 
Only by maintaining a strong and alert opposition could the 
delicate balance of the constitutional system be maintained. 

Willkie charged his twenty-two million constituents the men 
and women who had voted for him in the November election 
with the task of debating at all times the policies of the Admin- 
istration and of expressing themselves freely to their representa- 
tives in Congress. But he warned his followers that their 
opposition must be a program in which loyalty to their country 
remained the first principle. He proposed a Loyal Opposition 
rather than mere obstruction. The platform of this Loyal Oppo- 
sition must be positive in character. It must stand for a strong 
America, which meant a productive America: "For only the 
productive can be strong and only the strong can be free." 

The radio address awakened an enthusiastic response in every 


state in the Union. It particularly impressed such men as 
Henry L. Stimson and Frank Knox, two patriotic Republicans 
who had braved the wrath of their own party to enter the 
Roosevelt Cabinet as secretaries of War and the Navy. The 
address, however, had small immediate effect on the White 
House. Inadvertently, Edward J. Flynn, chairman of the Demo- 
cratic National Committee, disclosed the fact that the President 
had not listened to the Willkie address. This indifference incited 
a stinging rebuke from Arthur Krock in the New York Times, 
advising the President to read the text of Willkie's address and 
to ponder it well. 

The role of the Loyal Opposition, as expressed by Wendell 
Willkie, was something new in American politics. It meant 
responsibility as well as criticism of the party in office. Critics 
of the Willkie speech attempted to draw a distinction between 
the twenty-two million citizens who voted the Republican ticket 
and the minority members in Congress. The Loyal Opposition, 
they contended, was purely a British term, defining the largest 
party out of office in the British Parliament, and including only 
the parliamentary leaders and their followers who actually held 
seats in Parliament. Accordingly, many Republican Congress- 
men maintained that leadership in the drafting of legislative 
programs was the function of the members of Congress rather 
than of party leaders outside Congress. Representative Joseph W. 
Martin hastened to declare that while there was no disposition 
to deprive Willkie of his voice in party councils, the members 
of Congress and the Republican governors would be viewed as 
the principal source of direction on political and legislative 
policies. Senator Taft, as Republican leader in the Senate, 
added that the position of the Republican Party on various 
issues must be determined at a later time. To him party leader- 
ship always signified control of the party in Congress. 

One of the few Republicans who commented favorably on 
the Loyal Opposition speech was Kenneth F. Simpson, of New 
York, who promptly declared: "It was a magnificent challenge 
to America. I will be proud to continue to fight under his 
leadership until we achieve final victory with Wendell Willkie 
in 1944." 


Seldom in American political life had the weight of a minority 
public opinion been so much needed as after the election of 
1940. Almost half of the electorate opposed the radical social 
policies of the New Deal. The Democrats in the House of 
Representatives, however, commanding a majority of about 
a hundred members, rendered the minority party powerless to 
moderate the legislative program of the White House. All three 
branches of government the Executive, Congress and the 
Courtsmoved in the harmony of a single philosophy of govern- 

Immediately after the Armistice Day broadcast, Willkie re- 
turned with Pryor to Jupiter Island to remain until after the 
Christmas season. The Pryor children and Philip joined their 
parents for the Christmas vacation. The relaxation originally 
planned for only a few days now lengthened into a merry winter 
holiday. Willkie found pleasure in bicycling about the island 
when he was not ensconced with a book in some comfortable 
nook by the sea. In the midst of these occupations, Willkie 
reached the decision to visit war-blitzed England. He had begun 
to write an article on the question of American aid to the Allies, 
when he suddenly realized that he knew little about the needs 
of Britain. Why not go to England and see for himself? He 
would then be in a better position to report to the American 

As soon as he returned to New York, Willkie telephoned 
Secretary of State Cordell Hull for a passport and government 
approval of the trip. Hull was unable to give an immediate 
answer as wartime clearance had to come through President 
Roosevelt himself. Several hours later, the Secretary telephoned 
apprpval but asked that Willkie come to Washington for a 
conference with him and the President. 

Before Willkie had opportunity to see the President and his 
Secretary of State, he proved himself eminently worthy as 
leader of the Loyal Opposition. On the tenth of January, 1941, 
the Lend-Lease Bill proposed by the President had been intro- 
duced in Congress. It provided that the Executive be em- 
powered in the interest of national defense to sell, transfer, ex- 
change, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of munitions and 


implements of war to any government engaged in battle with 
the enemies of democracy. It was a device to make America the 
"arsenal of democracy." 

Many Republicans launched a torrent of abuse against the 
Lend-Lease Bill. Alfred M. Landon, in a speech at Tulsa, Okla- 
homa, branded the bill as a war measure and as a "slick scheme 
to fool American taxpayers." Senator Burton K. Wheeler 
poured upon the measure his usual invective, declaring that the 
Aid-to-Britain bill was merely another "New Deal triple A 
foreign policy to plow under the ground every fourth American 
boy." General Robert E. Wood, chairman of the America First 
Committee, branding the bill as totalitarian, called upon the 
local chapters of his organization to flood Congress with protests. 
As titular leader of the Republican Party, Willkie released a 
statement on January 13, 1941, taking issue with the isola- 
tionist blast of Governor Landon. The statement was a great 
declaration of policy and ranks in historical importance with his 
Armistice Day address. It was a pledge of unity for national 

Willkie declared that he had examined the Lend-Lease Bill 
in the light of the current emergency, and had come to the 
conclusion that with a few modifications, it should be promptly 
passed by Congress. Eloquently, he described the situation as 
one of the critical moments in history. "The United States is 
not a belligerent, and we hope we shall not be. Our problem, 
however, is not alone to keep America out of war, but to keep 
war out of America." It sometimes becomes necessary in a de- 
mocracy, he explained, to grant extraordinary powers to the 
elected Executive. "Democracy cannot hope to defend itself 
from aggression in any other way." Hence, all parties should 
unite in delegating sufficient power during the emergency to 
the Roosevelt Administration. 

In a direct challenge to Landon, he declared, "It makes a 
vital difference to the United States which side prevails in the 
present conflict. I refute the statement that our national security 
is not involved in a British defeat. The difference between a 
British defeat or victory is not only military but economic." A 
German victory would close the free markets of the world to 
American trade. As a result the economy of this country, already 


weakened by New Deal legislation, would be forced into regi- 
mentation. "We shall be driven back to a controlled economy as 
to both foreign and domestic trade," he concluded. 

Addressing himself to the Republican members of Congress, 
Willkie admonished them to refrain from opposition to the 
Administration merely because it was the Democratic Adminis- 
tration. Although everyone could wish that the Administration 
loved power less, the executive powers required by the emer- 
gency must not be denied. He pleaded with Republican mem- 
bers in Congress to forego the cheap satisfaction of debating 
the Lend-Lease Bill as a partisan measure. "The Republicans," 
said Willkie, "will gain much in public esteem if they ignore 
this confusion of partisanship with patriotism." Debate should 
be confined to the merits of the measure. 

While defending the Lend-Lease Bill, Willkie did counsel 
the President that his program for the American national de- 
fense was lagging. The New Deal had sadly depressed Ameri- 
can industry, he warned. Production of all goods could be 
greatly increased if the Government would cease its attacks on 
business and allow confidence in American economy to return. 

The Willkie statement on the Lend-Lease Bill was a unique 
public paper. It marked a new kind of politics and a new kind 
of patriotism. It was indeed the forerunner of the bipartisan 
policy which, in 1945, insured the ratification of the Charter 
of the United Nations in the United States Senate. Waiter 
Lippmann, writing in the New York Herald Tribune, said that 
it was not too optimistic to hope that under the leadership of 
a man like Wendell Willkie the opposition would yet turn 
from barren obstruction to the real business of holding the New 
Deal Administration accountable for the effective execution of 
the national defense policy. William Allen White, the Kansas 
sage, wrote in the Emporia Gazette: "Again Wendell Willkie 
has revealed his statesmanship. Mr. Willkie is not the leader of 
Congress, but he is the leader of 20,000,000 Republicans, and 
both the President and the Congressional leaders must reckon 
with him. He has taken a position to which he can summon his 
party." White commended the proposed trip to England as a 
means to dramatize the question before Congress as nothing 
else could do. It was, he said, a great service to his country. 


On the eighteenth of January, two days before the inaugura- 
tion, Willkie went to Washington for his passport and official 
conferences. He called on Secretary of State Cordell Hull at 
the Carlton Hotel. By the time the two men were ready to leave 
for the White House, a crowd of several hundred had gathered 
to cheer Willkie. The friendly mob closed in so thickly that 
hotel attendants were compelled to clear a path to the street. 
It was a spontaneous recognition of his gallant statesmanship 
by Washingtonians accustomed to the sight of political celeb- 

Arriving at the Executive Mansion, Willkie and Hull were 
immediately ushered into the Oval Study, where the President 
was preparing his third inaugural address. After a warm hand- 
shake, the Republican leader declared, "I won't be long. I know 
what it is to be interrupted while laboring on a speech." 

"I wish you were going to have to stand out on that cold in- 
augural platform tomorrow instead of me/' said the President 
with a chuckle. 

"Well, when I get to London, Mr. President, you would want 
to change places with me again," responded the defeated but 
smiling candidate. 

When Willkie left the White House a short time later, he 
carried with him a letter in the scrawling handwriting of F.D.R. 
addressed: "To a Certain Naval Person, kindness of Wendell 
Willkie." The letter began, "Dear Churchill," and it introduced 
the bearer to the British Prime Minister as one who had tried to 
keep politics out of the controversy over aid to Britain. It was 
a gracious gesture by the New Deal President. Yet Willkie, 
leader of the Loyal Opposition, traveled to Britain at his own 
expense on a private plane. Many Republicans bitterly resented 
his visit to England and especially the fact that he carried a 
letter to Churchill. They believed Willkie possessed sufficient 
distinction to meet any British statesman without a letter of 

On the twenty-second of January, the Yankee Clipper zoomed 
off the runway at La Guardia Field for its flight across the At- 
lantic, with immediate destination at Lisbon, Portugal In the 
cabin of the airship was Wendell Willkie on the first leg of his 
flight to Great Britain. With him were several editors, includ- 


ing John Cowles of the Minneapolis Star Journal and Tribune, 
and an old friend, L. K. Thome, who had formerly been on the 
board of directors of the Commonwealth and Southern Cor- 

On Sunday afternoon, four days after the take-off in New 
York, Willkie arrived at the London airport. As he saw the 
landing field, he became so excited that he impetuously un- 
fastened his seat belt, and with the exclamation, "What is the 
need of it?" jumped up from his seat intending to secure a 
better view of the crowd that had gathered to greet him. At 
that moment, the pilot slipped the plane and he was thrown 
violently on his face, breaking a small bone in his nose, and 
smearing himself with blood. Scrambling to his feet, he hastily 
explained that he never felt better in his life. Nevertheless, the 
London Times reported that his appearance fulfilled expecta- 
tions. His necktie was awry, his famous unruly lock of black 
hair was straggling over his forehead, and his clothes were 
crumpled. He was met at the airport by Herschel V. Johnson, 
United States Counselor of Embassy at the Court of St. James's, 
and other embassy officials. 

As he shook hands with those around him, Willkie radiated 
a spirit of friendliness. Confronted with a microphone, he said 
good-naturedly, "I am very glad to be in England, for whose 
cause I have the utmost sympathy, and for whose cause I am 
attempting to do all I can to unite the United States to give 
England all the assistance it possibly can in her struggle for 
free men all over the world." To the news reporters who 
crowded around him, he declared that he had little to say except 
that he had enjoyed a fine flight over the Atlantic. 

Willkie was eager to discover the reactions of the common 
men and women of England towards the war. His interrogation 
of individuals began with the chambermaid in his hotel room. 

"How's the war going?" he asked. 

"Of course we are going to win, but I think we'd like a little 
more help from America," she replied. 

At breakfast he questioned the waiters in the same vein and 
received much the same answer. Everywhere he found tenseness 
and hope. 

On Monday morning he promptly sallied forth to call on 


Anthony Eden, at the Foreign Office, and later to have luncheon 
with the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street. On this 
occasion, he delivered to Churchill the President's note. In the 
afternoon he called on Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour, and 
Duff Cooper, Minister of Information. Then he toured the 
devastated sections of the city. Witnessing the debris of Pater- 
noster Row, the street of book publishers, he observed, "They 
have destroyed the place where the truth is told." The first 
busy day in London ended in a gay dinner party at the residence 
of Lord and Lady Josiah Stamp. 

The succeeding days were filled with interviews, inspections, 
and visits to air-raid shelters, hospitals, factories and chemical 
works. He even went on bus rides so that he could talk to the 
passengers and get a cross-section of English views. He called 
at the Office of the Admiralty and conversed with the First Lord, 
A. V. Alexander. He visited the Inns of Court and discussed 
legal procedure with the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Simon. 
Other conversations took place with Montagu Norman (Gov- 
ernor of the Bank of England), Arthur Cardinal Kinsley (Pri- 
mate of the Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain), Clement 
Attlee (Lord Privy Seal), Arthur Greenwood (Labour M. P.), 
Sir Kingsley Wood (Chancellor of the Exchequer) and Lord 
Beaverbrook (Minister of Aircraft Production). 

Willkie later confided to friends that he was tremendously 
impressed by Winston Churchill. He considered him the most 
intellectually alert statesman in England and greatly admired 
his abilty, his strength, his intellectual dexterity and his grace. 
Contrariwise, he was keenly disappointed with Ernest Bevin. He 
had looked forward with intense interest to meeting this power- 
ful leader of the Labour Party. But in his account to intimates 
he disclosed that he found Bevin heavy, brusque and somewhat 

Shortly after his arrival in England, Willkie received the sad 
news of the death of his loyal friend, Kenneth Simpson. Willkie's 
supporters in New York assured him they could secure his 
nomination to take Simpson's seat in Congress if he desired. 
He promptly sent a cable declining. Although his friends were 
disappointed in this reply, it would have been awkward for him 
to take a seat in the House of Representatives. Here he would 


have been contesting with Joseph Martin, his own campaign 
manager, for the leadership of the minority party. Furthermore, 
Willkie realized that was not the road to the White House. 

Perforce he continued with his mission. Disregarding all per- 
sonal danger, he made a trip to Dover and the Southeast coast 
to view the front line defenses of the British Isles. Twice he saw 
the anti-aircraft guns open fire on a German Dornier. His in- 
spection of the bombed ruins of Coventry and Birmingham 
brought an enthusiastic response from the plucky citizens of 
these historic cities. On this occasion, he told British newsmen 
that nothing had been published in America to describe ade- 
quately the damage which the Nazi Luftwaffe had inflicted upon 
these regions. A short plane trip was made to Ireland for a talk 
with President De Valera. On his return to London he called on 
the exiled King Haakon of Norway. As the official climax of 
his visit, he was duly received by the King and Queen of England 
at Buckingham Palace. 

One of the simple events of his stay in London was his visit 
to quaint old Shepherd's Market in Mayfair, where he entered 
a pub and drank beer. A group of soldiers strolled in and he 
promptly ordered beer for all, and then joined them for a game 
of darts. The licensee of the shop was so delighted with the per- 
formance that he produced a half-bottle of champagne which he 
had been keeping for Armistice Day and declared that the visit 
of Willkie was as worthy of celebration as that devoutly expected 
event. The American and the Englishman drank to "That Day," 

The letter Willkie had taken to the Prime Minister was given 
a dramatic public reply. Addressing the House of Commons, a 
few days after the Willkie-Churchill interview, the British 
Prime Minister declared: "The other day, President Roosevelt 
gave his opponent in the late presidential election a letter of in- 
troduction to me, and in it he wrote out a verse in his own hand- 
writing from Longfellow which he said 'applies to you people 
as it does to us.' Here is the verse: 

Sail on, O Ship of State! 
Sail on, O Union, strong and great! 
Humanity with all its fears, 
With all the hopes of future years, 
Is hanging breathless on thy fate! 


"What is the answer that I shall give in your name to this 
great man, the thrice-chosen head of a nation of 130,000,000? 
Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt. Put 
your confidence in us. Give us your faith and your blessing, 
and under Providence all will be well. We shall not fail or 
falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of 
battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will 
wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job." The 
episode furnished another example of the fact that Churchill 
was a master not only of words, but of political expediency. The 
President's note provided him the opportunity for a strong and 
colorful plea for Lend-Lease aid at the very time that debate 
in the American Congress was at its peak. 

Willkie's inspection of Britain was cut short by a cablegram 
from Secretary Hull requesting his early return in order to 
testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on 
behalf of the Lend-Lease Bill. The opponents of the bill had 
recruited Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, described as the 
"world's greatest aviation expert," General Hugh S. Johnson 
(newspaper columnist), Joseph P. Kennedy (former Ambassador 
to Great Britain), Alfred Landon (Republican presidential can- 
didate in 1936), Norman Thomas (chairman of the Socialist 
Party), James S. Kemper (president of the Chamber of Com- 
merce of the United States), and General Robert E. Wood 
(national chairman of the America First Committee). Both 
Roosevelt and Hull were worried. William Allen White, lately 
convinced that Lend-Lease might lead to war, had deserted the 
cause of all-out aid to Britain. Now Willkie, and only Willkie, 
could supply the dramatic effect to offset the strength of the 
isolationist opposition. With his usual generosity, Willkie gave 
prompt compliance. On February 5, he left England for the 
United States. 

It was with genuine regret that the people of Britain learned 
of Willkie's sudden departure from their island fortress. The 
semi-official London Times pronounced him the most interest- 
ing personality in American public life in the past thirty years, 
with the exception, as it added with a sense of official loyalty, 
of President Roosevelt. While in England, Willkie had sought 
out men, women and children in every class in the social scale. 


The homeward flight was facilitated by Juan L. Trippe, presi- 
dent of Pan American Airways. Trippe had planned to fly the 
hydroplane Dixie Clipper on a new route from Europe to the 
United States, which would skirt the coast of Portuguese Guinea 
in West Africa. The mapping of the new route required a stop 
at the island Bolama, lying 360 miles south of Dakar. Arriving 
at Bolama, the crew of the Dixie Clipper proposed as a few 
hours' diversion an excursion inland to hunt lions on the edge 
of the jungle. This jungle hunting expedition, however, saw no 
big game and bagged only some wild ducks. Along the way they 
stopped at several native villages. The largest of these was the 
seat of the tribe of the Bijagos. 

Willkie was taken to the hut of the chief of the Bijagos, who, 
surrounded by many of his wives, children and faithful clans- 
men, awaited him. Through the interpreter, Willkie and the 
chief carried on an animated conversation. The chief had twenty- 
seven wives, but only fourteen of them were present. Twelve 
of them were working in the fields, while one wife with her 
daughter was bathing in the river. The Willkie party had passed 
the mother and her daughter on its way to the village. When 
the distinguished visitor asked the chief how he could support 
so many wives, he explained that the answer was simple inas- 
much as each wife meant the acquisition of a new field worker. 
Willkie then asked the chief about the mother and daughter he 
had seen bathing. Members of the party who were acquainted 
with native customs were shocked at Willkie's mention of the 
chieftain's daughter. By mentioning the girl to her father, he 
had violated the tribal code prohibiting all mention of daugh- 
ters except in connection with a marriage contract. As a con- 
sequence, he had actually incurred the obligation to take the 
girl as his wife in return for the customary price of twelve silver 

Towards dusk, the Willkie party returned to the Dixie Clip- 
per. Early the next morning, the crew was busy with the plane 
in preparation for the takeoff. Suddenly they heard a ripple in 
the water and, looking up, beheld the young native bride. 
Draped in white, demurely sitting in the canoe with her mother, 
she was borne rapidly towards the Clipper by the skillful pad- 
dling of several retainers. Some quick-thinking members of the 


crew stepped into the small collapsible boat carried by the 
Clipper and met the bride a few yards from the hydroplane. 
They explained as best they could that there was no room on 
the Clipper on this trip for the bride, but that the purchase 
money would be paid immediately. Thereupon, they laid twelve 
silver dollars in the hands of the mother. Willkie did not learn 
of the predicament until well over the Atlantic. Not amused, he 
reimbursed the young pilots who had paid twelve dollars for his 
would-be bride. The story was well kept and never reached the 

The Dixie Clipper came to a perfect landing in the choppy 
water off LaGuardia Airport in New York Harbor. Wendell 
Willkie alighted, a worn and weary traveler but happily flour- 
ishing the native saber given him at Bolama by the Governor of 
Portuguese Guinea. He promptly told newsmen that he was 
returning from the most stimulating experience in his life. 
Certainly, he had completed one of the strangest journeys in 
American history. Compared to it, the leisurely world tour of 
President Ulysses S. Grant in 1880 was far from spectacular and 
the European tour of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 
was unproductive of political achievement. Willkie had lacked 
the prestige of exalted office, and he had traveled as a private 
citizen at his own expense. But his journey had taken him into 
and out of a beseiged fortress. He had brought cheer and com- 
fort to a gallant people whose heroic resistance saved Europe 
from the domination of the Nazi empire. Mark Sullivan wrote 
in his column: "Those nineteen days were more crowded with 
incidents, some significant, some colorful; were more noticed 
by agencies of publicity, were more stirring to national interest, 
than any journey ever taken by any other American in public 
life. Decidedly Mr. Willkie has political 'it'!" Willkie now re- 
turned to the United States to tell the American people that 
the defense of Britain was linked to the defense of their own 
country- His arrival turned the tide of the struggle over the 
Lend-Lease Bill from defeat to victory. 

Willkie was, as he phrased it, walking through history. When 
he had left New York nearly three weeks earlier, the headlines 
of the newspapers had announced the fall of Tobruk in North 
Africa and riots in Rumania. On his return, the papers carried 


dispatches regarding the British naval bombardment of Genoa, 
the capture of Bengazi by General Wavell and the advance of 
the British Army towards Tripoli. When Willkie had left 
America, debate on Lend-Lease had just begun in the House of 
Representatives. There was strident opposition to the measure, 
although the Willkie press statement of January 13 had done 
much to weaken the foes of the bill in the Republican Party. 
On his return, the measure had passed the House by a wide 
margin of 260 votes to 165. Its fate in the Senate, however, was 
a matter of conjecture. The isolationists in the Senate were 
spearheaded by Senators Hiram Johnson, who had been a 
leading figure in the defeat of the Covenant of the League of 
Nations in 1920. 

The hearings were held in the Senate caucus chamber, which 
normally holds about five hundred persons. On the morning of 
Willkie's appearance, unparalleled crowds jammed the Senate 
Office Building to gain admittance for the Willkie testimony. 
Spectators began to gather at six o'clock in the morning, al- 
though the hearings did not begin until ten. The first to be ad- 
mitted were visitors with Senators' cards. By the time all of these 
persons were in the room, there was little space left for the 
hundreds who had been waiting long hours. The crowd was so 
great that any effort to maintain seating arrangements was 
quickly given up. The wife of Vice-President Wallace pushed 
her way through the crowd to a place behind the committee 
table.. Without a seat, she had to stand during the entire session. 
Eighteen hundred people jostled into the room, and more were 
standing outside hoping that some of those inside might leave. 

The day was a triumph for the leader of the Loyal Opposition. 
Aside from government officials, the majority of the witnesses 
who had appeared before the committee had been isolationists. 
The Roosevelt Administration had been unable to enlist any 
spectacular witnesses save Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and even 
he had proved ineffective because of his bellicose talk and his 
lack of precise information. The White House now depended 
upon Willkie to save the day. He was well aware of the strange- 
ness of this situation that he should be the one to save from 
defeat a measure sponsored by the New Deal President whom 
he had opposed for seven years. 


Willkie gave his testimony at the last session of the public 
hearings on the Lend-Lease Bill, February 11. When he arrived 
at the Senate caucus room, he was escorted to the witness table 
with great difficulty because of the crowds. Then in typical 
Willkie fashion, he discovered that he had left his prepared 
statement in his hotel room. A wait of three-quarters of an hour 
ensued while the document was retrieved. 

When the manuscript finally arrived, Willkie proceeded to 
read it. Because of the delay, he read with haste, thereby im- 
pairing the effectiveness of his statement. Even so, however, it 
was an able presentation of the thesis that Nazi Germany would 
win the Battle of Britain if Britain were left without help from 
America. In this event, the totalitarian powers would soon con- 
trol the world and eventually demoralize the economic system 
of the United States. Willkie repeated his confidence that Eng- 
land would survive in case aid came from America. He pro- 
posed that the United States give effective aid to Britain by 
sending five to ten destroyers a month to her as well as making 
available patrol bombers. He concluded his statement by asking 
for three revisions of the Lend-Lease Bill: (1) fixing a time limit 
on the powers granted to the Executive; (2) retention of author- 
ity to terminate by concurrent resolution the powers granted; 
and (3) apportioning the amount of money usable under the 
Lend-Lease Bill from current appropriations. 

Questioning of the witness by the committee members was 
sharp and at times bitter. Especially vitriolic was Bennett 
Champ Clark, Democratic Senator of Missouri. He attempted to 
trap Willkie into saying that if the United States sent all the 
supplies he recommended to Britain and she were defeated, then 
this country would be too weak to fight Germany. Willkie, how- 
ever, insisted that every plane and every ship sent to Britain 
weakened Germany by so much. The longer England remained 
fighting, the more time this country had to prepare her defense. 
The Senator became so flustered in his questioning that he sud- 
denly turned towards Willkie and yelled, "Mr. President, Mr. 
President.'* On the Senate floor, members so address the pre- 
siding officer; and in his anger and confusion, he momentarily 
forgot that he was not on the floor but in a committee hearing. 
Everyone, however, laughed and applauded. And Willkie, fully 


master of the situation, said: "Senator, you merely speak of what 
should have been." Again there was applause from the specta- 
tors. Senator Walter F. George, chairman, pounded his gavel 
and warned: "There must be no applause"; then he smiled and 
added, "but you may laugh!" 

One of the most widely discussed episodes that developed in 
the questioning period concerned itself with what Willkie called 
"campaign oratory." The interrogation developed in this 

SENATOR NYE: One more assertion of yours, that of October 
30; namely, "On the basis of his [Roosevelt's] past performance 
with pledges to the people, you may expect we will be at war 
by April, 1941, if he is elected." 

MR. WILLKIE: You ask me whether or not I said that? 
SENATOR NYE: Do you still agree that might be the case? 

MR. WILLKIE: It might be. It was a bit of campaign oratory. 
(Laughter.) I am very glad you read my speeches, because the 
President said he did not. (Laughter.) 

The witty, off-hand reply made headline news. Immediately 
the enemies of Willkie attacked him as having admitted that all 
his criticism on the conduct of American foreign policy was 
"campaign oratory"; and that his doubts concerning the Presi- 
dent's efforts to maintain the peace were buncombe. Neither 
of these accusations was true; Willkie had made clear statements 
on both questions earlier in the cross-examination. The garbled 
accounts rendered by his opponents were designed to make him 
appear as an insincere candidate who had flung reckless charges 
against his opponent in the presidential campaign. But his 
brilliant defense of Lend-Lease far outweighed in the public 
mind the rash statement so distorted by his enemies. 

Upon the conclusion of the hearings, the crowd surged 
around Willkie. He was widely congratulated. The opinion of 
the audience in the caucus room was well expressed by the New 
York Sun, which called Willkie's conduct an "extraordinary 
example of self-sacrifice and courage." His performance caught 
the imagination of the nation. The metropolitan newspapers 


spread the story of his testimony on the first page. It provided 
a sensational conclusion to the hearings. The White House, 
which had ignored his Armistice Day radio address, studied 
every word of his testimony and was highly pleased by the 
popular response. Willkie had made the Battle of Britain real 
to the people of the United States. 

After four weeks of angry debate in the Senate, the upper 
chamber passed the Lend-Lease Act on March eighth, by a vote 
of 60 to 31. An amendment added by the Senate was approved 
by the House of Representatives, three days later, by a vote of 
317 to 71. When the President signed the Lend-Lease Act on 
March 11, 1941, American history broke in halves. For one 
hundred and fifty years, American foreign policy had vacillated 
between isolation and temporary adventures into the field of 
international co-operation. At long last, Lend-Lease identified 
the American people with the defense of democracy against 
aggressions of dictatorships in every quarter of the globe. It 
made America truly the "arsenal of democracy." During the 
remaining years of the Second World War, Lend-Lease logically 
led to American leadership in the creation of the United Na- 
tions and, after the war, to the negotiation of the Charter of the 
United Nations. On the side of the Government, the victory 
for Lend-Lease had been won by means of the superb leader- 
ship of President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull. On the side of 
public opinion, a not less remarkable leadership was achieved 
by Wendell Willkie. The victory over isolation was secured 
with the support of the Loyal Opposition, which developed from 
the magnanimous statesmanship of a defeated presidential 


Origin of the 
Bipartisan Policy 

WENDELL WILLKIE was always more conscious of issues in 
the public forum than he was of party strategy. This had been 
true even in the campaign, when he had supported the draft, 
eliminating it as a campaign issue. As a result of his vigorous 
support of this measure, the extension of the Selective Service 
and Training Act had been passed by a narrow margin in Con- 
gress, although the majority of the Republicans and many 
Democrats had voted against it. 

The Act was amazingly unpoplar. Worst of all, the morale of 
the young men drafted under it was very low. There was wide- 
spread talk among the draftees that if they were not released 
from service at the expiration of the one-year induction, Octo- 
ber, 1941, they would desert. On walls and billboards every- 
where, there appeared almost overnight the mysterious letters 
"OHO" written by young recruits in an effort to intimidate 
Congress. It meant that regardless of any Act of Congress they 
would go "Over the Hill in October." 

In view of this antagonism to the draft the President hesi- 
tated to ask Congress for its extension. Willkie insisted that it 



was the paramount duty of the President to do so. The military 
also urged that the issue be squarely faced. The debate in the 
Senate was acrimonious. Willkie was blamed by isolationist 
Senators as bitterly as were Roosevelt and the Army. Neverthe- 
less, on August 7, the resolution to extend the service of enlisted 
men, selectees and the National Guardsmen and reserve officers 
to thirty months was passed by a vote of 45 to 30. Debate in the 
House of Representatives continued while the President was out 
of the country, engaged in discussions with Winston Churchill 
on the SS Augusta off the coast of Labrador. The isolationists 
rallied for a last stand. A New York Republican declared that 
the draft extension authorized the War Department to "order 
four million death tags for American boys." Hamilton Fish de- 
nounced the bill as a part of the Roosevelt-Willkie conspiracy to 
drag the country into war. In spite of this opposition, the bill 
finally passed, but only by the narrow margin of 203 to 202. 
Sixty-five Democrats deserted their party to oppose the bill while 
only twenty-one Republicans voted for it. Without Willkie's 
strong leadership to encourage his party members it would have 
been defeated. 

While the President might be able to hold the Democratic 
Party behind his foreign policy, the future of any program of 
world co-operation required a reform of Republican thinking. 
Willkie's agile mind had already begun to speculate upon 
various phases of a bipartisan foreign policy. In time of inter- 
national emergency, he felt this must be the only sound pro- 
cedure. More than this, it was obvious to him that a consistent 
bipartisan foreign policy must rest upon a certain degree of 
parallelism of foreign policy within the two major parties. Even 
in the gravest emergency, a party wedded to a policy of prairie 
isolation would find it difficult to co-operate with a party de- 
voted to dogmatic internationalism. Willkie believed that the 
immediate need, demanding all of his talents for dramatization, 
was converting his party from isolationism to a permanent policy 
of international co-operation. 

By his press release of January 13, he had launched single- 
handed a campaign to drive isolationism from the Republican 
Party. But that was only the beginning. The day after Willkie's 
spectacular testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign 


Relations was Lincoln's birthday, the twelfth of February, and 
he spoke before the National Republican Club of New York at 
the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. His address disclosed his firm de- 
termination to scourge isolationism from the Republican Party. 
Challenging his party to seek a higher destiny than "negation 
and failure and death/' he reminded his listeners of the fact 
that the old Federalist and Whig parties had collapsed because 
they were unable to change with the needs of the times. If the 
Republican Party could do no better than merely to find fault 
with the way the Democrats ran the Government, it would meet 
the same fate as the Federalists and Whigs. 

He presented his audience with further lessons from Ameri- 
can history. Party government in this country, he said, had al- 
ways followed a simple pattern. Parties are born and die in times 
of great crisis and struggle perhaps sometimes they are reborn 
in such periods. When the Whig Party failed to understand the 
great moral issue of the day and resorted to compromise with 
local prejudices, it passed away. The Republican Party, he de- 
clared, was founded to preserve freedom, and if it remembered 
that, the party would not fail. "But if we become like the Whig 
Party, merely the party of negation . . . merely those who find 
fault, and who in one of the critical moments of history find 
nothing nobler to do than compromise, this great party will 
pass from the scene. I am here to speak to you tonight to chal- 
lenge you to a higher destiny. . . ." 

Alsop and Kintner commented that a similar situation ex- 
isted when Stephen A. Douglas told his party to stand behind 
Lincoln and the Union. The New York Herald Tribune edi- 
torially commended the patriotic plea to seek unlimited support 
for Lend-Lease. "In the end we shall earnestly hope that the 
high ideal of national unity which Mr. Willkie upheld and 
in his personal attitude symbolized will prevail. If such can be 
the case the effect upon the totalitarian . . . will be the equiva- 
lent of many guns. And the defense of America will have been 
profoundly strengthened." 

Willkie's prompt and dramatic endorsement of the Lend- 
Lease Bill had encouraged a few Republican leaders to stand 
with him. Echoing the Willkie press release of January 13, 
Governor Baldwin of Connecticut asked for an enlightened 


concept of opposition and urged his fellow Republicans to re- 
fuse to be "against something just because the Administration 
is for it." Thomas E. Dewey, ever alert to political issues that 
gave promise of popular support, astounded his isolationist 
audience at the Mayflower Hotel, in Washington, D. C., by re- 
versing his earlier opposition and declaring himself in favor of 
Lend-Lease to the Allies. Within the week, Herbert Hoover 
asserted that the United States at last had a national duty to aid 
the Allies. And William Allen White, returning to his original 
point of view, declared: "Willkie is just dead right on foreign 

On the other hand, the Lincoln Day celebrations were em- 
ployed by the isolationist leadership in the Republican Party 
to brand Willkie as a menace to the party and a danger to 
American peace. Robert A. Taft, speaking at a rally at Harrison- 
burg, Virginia, caustically remarked that- the 1940 nominee 
"does not speak and cannot speak for the Republican Party." 
Gerald P. Nye branded Willkie as the "betrayer" of the party. 
Already Alf Landon had castigated Willkie for his policy of all- 
out aid to England as a deliberate risk of war. Dewey Short, 
Congressman from Missouri, called him a Trojan horse seek- 
ing to split the Republican Party. 

The revival of the challenge to the leadership of Willkie 
brought confusion among the party members in Congress. Since 
1939, Joseph W. Martin had served as minority leader in the 
House of Representatives. After the 1938 elections, he had been 
able to develop party discipline and to establish a somewhat 
united party in opposition to such Administration measures as 
Roosevelt's Re-organization Bill and the dollar devaluation 
program. With the advent of Willkie, party discipline was 
suddenly shattered. The real tug-of-war between the two factions 
came on the twenty-fourth of March, 1941, when the Republi- 
can National Committee met in Washington to choose a national 
chairman and to re-establish the Republican battle line. The 
skillful strategy of Joe Martin was barely sufficient to keep the 
revolt from splitting the party wide open. 

Shortly after the election of 1940, Martin had announced that 
he would resign as national chairman. The reason for this de- 
cision was that the burden of the chairmanship was too heavy, in 


view of his responsibility as minority floor leader of the House 
of Representatives. The proposed resignation, however, opened 
the flood-gates of dissension as to the new leadership of the 
Republican Party. The Old Guard was avid to bar all Willkie 
influence. Even the Young Republicans raised hostile voices at 
a conference in February at Des Moines, Iowa. Although many 
of them had been members of the Willkie Clubs, they now were 
bitter in their denunciation of their former leader. Resolutions 
had been drafted which condemned Willkie's trip to England 
and repudiated him as spokesman for Republican foreign 
policy. Joe Martin immediately countered this anti-Willkie 
demonstration with a statement from party headquarters in 
Washington, declaring that he would "regret it" if the Young 
Republican National Federation meeting in Des Moines "seri- 
ously considered" any resolution attacking Wendell Willkie. 
The rebuke from the capital stopped any formal action, al- 
though the delegates seethed in rebellion. 

Several days later, Republicans from sixteen midwestern 
states met in Omaha. Without delay, Martin dispatched his 
secretary, Robert Mclvaine, in an effort to curb any dis- 
cussion either of Lend-Lease or of Willkie. Nevertheless, Gilbert 
E. Carpenter, National Committeeman from Nebraska, told 
newsmen that "a lot of the boys are angry!" Ben L. Berve, 
Illinois State Chairman of the Republican Party, openly 
chafed against what he called the "gag rule" from Washington. 
The conference finally took mild vengeance upon Willkie by 
adopting resolutions of confidence in Martin and McNary, 
leaders of the minority party in the House and Senate respec- 
tively, while ignoring the existence of Willkie as a national 
leader. The conference also voiced the demand that the new 
National Chairman of the party should be chosen from the 
Middle West, where, in a burst of pride, they declared that "the 
Republicans had won the presidential election." 

At the midwestern political rally at Indianapolis on March 21, 
Martin appeared in person, having heard that the isolationists 
planned to make a public repudiation of their defeated can- 
didate. In a brilliant defense of Willkie as the only party leader 
.who then held the devotion of the rank and file of the GOP, the 
chairman beat down the incipient rebellion. 


Nevertheless, Martin was still determined to resign as chair- 
man of the Republican National Committee. The bitter clash of 
personalities and the appalling lack of unity upon national 
issues had proved to be an intolerable burden. But Willkie re- 
peatedly urged Martin to retain the key post if only for one 
more year. Twelve Republican governors demanded he remain 
at the helm. Even McNary, Landon and Dewey joined the peti- 
tion. Joe Martin, possessed of a more pressing party conscience 
than most of his associates, agreed to remain as chairman until 
after the 1942 elections. 

This turn of events was fortunate for Willkie. The retention 
of the chairmanship by Joe Martin brought some peace to the 
Republican Party. Then also, Martin reiterated his view that 
Willkie was still to be considered as the head of the party, which 
encouraged others to voice their acceptance of the Willkie 
leadership. Cyrus McCormick, National Committeeman from 
New Mexico, was one who promptly spoke out: "Nobody can 
deny the fact that Willkie was our last nominee and that as 
such he is boss of the Republicans." 

The pressure of events on the international scene did not 
wait while the Republican Party debated. In the struggle of 
the democracies against Hitler the passage of the Lend-Lease Act 
had come none too soon. The Nazi armies had invaded Bulgaria 
and breached the frontiers of Greece. The entire Balkans were 
about the fall into the orbit of Berlin. In occupied France, a 
new Vichy Cabinet agreed to deliver cattle and other produce 
to Nazi Germany, and Marshal P&ain declared that France 
would willingly participate in the New Order in Europe created 
by the Axis Powers. The Battle of Britain had continued 
throughout the winter of 1941 with nightly raids by Goering's 
Luftwaffe on London, Plymouth and English industrial centers, 
while frightened people gathered in air-raid shelters bravely 
sang, "There will always be an England." 

Amidst this disaster, Lend-Lease brought cheer to the weary 
citizens of Britain. In their minds Wendell Willkie shared 
equally with the President the responsibility for this victory. But 
even as they rejoiced, a new fear confronted the democracies. 
This was the submarine danger. Shipments of war supplies pur- 
chased in the United States and other American republics were 
seriously menaced by Nazi submarines, sea raiders and the 


Luf twaffe. The Battle of the Atlantic had reached a high tempo 
with the increase of shipping to Britain as a result of the Lend- 
Lease Act. Lloyd's in London listed British, Allied and neutral 
shipping losses for the first eighteen months of the war as 1,245 
ships of 4,962,257 tons, or half a million tons more than the 
losses in the first two and a half years of the First World War. 
During March, the Allies lost 437,730 tons of shipping. 

Willkie's visit to the British Isles had led him to see the 
necessity for American co-operation to protect the highways of 
the Atlantic long before most Americans were aware of this 
dire need. It had become of the most critical urgency that every 
cargo of American war supplies safely reach the British ports. 
On his return to the United States, therefore, he was convinced 
that American battleship convoys were as necessary for the de- 
feat of Hitler as was Lend-Lease itself. But his awareness of 
public opinion prompted him to follow the discreet course of 
allowing the issue of convoys to rest until the battle for Lend- 
Lease had been won. It was on April 25, in an eloquent plea be- 
fore a large audience in Pittsburgh, that Willkie first demanded 
convoys to protect Lend-Lease supplies crossing the Atlantic. 
He chided the Administration for not taking the American peo- 
ple into its confidence and for not giving the people the full 
facts on the sinking of American war supplies en route to 
Britain. By this time, Willkie was far in advance of the President. 
Even on the day of the Pittsburgh address, F.D.R. declared in a 
press conference that while the United States Navy would ex- 
tend its neutrality patrol to the seven seas if necessary for the 
protection of the Western Hemisphere, convoys would not be 
employed as protection for ships carrying aid to Britain. 

Two days after Willkie's Pittsburgh address, the Committee 
to Defend America by Aiding the Allies announced in a 
Chicago radio broadcast that the time had come for the United 
States to use convoys. On the same day, in New York, Lewis 
W. Douglas, chairman of the committee's policy board, released 
a similar statement in favor of convoys. On May 2, support for 
the Willkie program came from an unexpected source. The 
national executive committee of the American Legion, meeting 
in Indianapolis, adopted a resolution urging the use of Ameri- 
can gunboats to deliver war materials to Britain. 

Willkie was now the leader in the forum of public opinion. 


This advanced position forced him into the role of answering 
Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, the most eloquent foe of the 
Administration's foreign policy. 

In a rally of the America First Committee in Chicago, on 
April 17, 1941, Lindbergh told an audience of twenty thousand 
persons that the European war was lost by Britain and France 
and that the United States was powerless to win alone. A few 
days later, before a New York audience, he said that the British 
Government had hatched a desperate plot to drag the United 
States into the war as a belligerent. For such utterances the 
President contemptuously called him a "Copperhead," which 
Willkie thought was unfortunate as he always disapproved of 
name-calling. Lindbergh promptly resigned his commission as 
colonel in the Air Corps, conferred upon him in 1927 after his 
Paris flight. But he kept on talking. 

In a remarkably eloquent address before an audience of 
fifteen thousand persons in St. Louis, on May 3, Lindbergh 
confidently declared that no matter how many planes the United 
States built for Great Britain, she would never match Nazi Ger- 
many in air power. A week later, before a large audience in 
Minneapolis, he attacked the Roosevelt Administration for 
concealing its foreign policy from the American people. At a 
rally in Philadelphia in the last week in May, Lindbergh made 
a personal attack upon President Roosevelt, declaring that the 
American Executive and not Hitler "advocated world domina- 
tion," and he called for a change in American leadership. 

Willkie replied with an effective rebuke to the young hero 
on June 6 before an All-Chicago Citizens' Rally, composed of 
twenty-two thousand people, declaring that in the present 
emergency appeals for a "new leader" were reckless and mis- 
guided, while charges that F.D.R. was more of an aggressor than 
Adolf Hitler were nothing short of outrageous. But on Septem- 
ber 11, at an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Lind- 
bergh made the fatal mistake of charging three groups with a 
plot to drag the United States into the war: the British Govern- 
ment, the Roosevelt Administration, and the Jews. Immediately, 
angry retorts were made by Hadassah, the Committee for a Jew- 
ish Army, the Protestant Digest and the White House. Willkie 
waited two days for passions to subside, and then without rancor 


but with firmness declared that Colonel Lindbergh's remarks 
were un-American. The eclipse of the popular hero was abrupt. 

In his public addresses, Willkie now sought to mold a public 
opinion that would compel the President to take a more drastic 
action to protect the flow of Lend-Lease supplies to Britain. 
Events in Europe were moving rapidly. Germany had extended 
her war zone westward to within three miles of the shores of 
Greenland. The United States acted immediately by signing 
an agreement with the Danish Minister in Washington to place 
Greenland under the protection of this country. This at once 
brought up the question of Iceland. 

Because Denmark was now under Nazi occupation and so un- 
able to protect her outposts in the North Atlantic, President 
Roosevelt proposed the occupation of Iceland also. This created 
frantic opposition in Congress, led on the Republican side by 
Arthur Vanderberg of Michigan and on the Democratic side 
by Burton Wheeler of Montana. 

On July eighth, Willkie promptly declared: "My feeling is 
strong that we must get aid to Britain, and for that purpose a 
base in Iceland is necessary. It will not only protect the sea 
lanes, but also it will now be possible for the British forces to 
be released for duty elsewhere." 

The President had finally grasped the full significance of the 
Loyal Opposition. He now began to invite Willkie to luncheon 
conferences at the White House. These conferences were the 
beginning of those consultations with the Loyal Opposition 
which soon were to develop into the famous bipartisan foreign 
policy. Such a conference was held on July ninth concerning the 
establishment of bases in Iceland. Willkie assured the President 
of his full support and that of the overwhelming number of 
the Republican rank and file on the occupation of this impor- 
tant station along the North Atlantic sea route to England. 

Willkie made three suggestions to the President: that he 
should now continue his aggressive leadership in an effort to 
deliver more effective aid to Great Britain; that he should take 
steps at once to co-ordinate under one head the defense produc- 
tion of the United States; and that he should cause his associates 
to desist from actions and statements which were contributing 
to the disunity of the country. 


The following day, Willkie released a statement to the press 
again defending the proposed occupation of Iceland and de- 
manding the establishment of American air bases in northern 
Ireland and Scotland. "There is no use just giving lip-service 
to Britain," he said. Arthur Krock observed in the New York 
Times that after the Willkie luncheon there were no trial 
balloons to ascertain public opinion, which had so long been 
the custom of the White House. Instead, with the support of the 
leader of the Loyal Opposition, the President as Commander- 
in-Chief gave the military order for the occupation of Iceland. 

Bitter denunciation of Willkie increased day by day. The 
Nazi-controlled press in Germany shrieked that Willkie was a 
foul betrayer of civilization, while the isolationist press in the 
United States branded him as a warmonger. The American 
Friends of Irish Neutrality denounced the "outrageous proposal" 
advanced by the repudiated presidential nominee for air bases 
in northern Ireland and branded him as an aggressor against 
friendly Ireland. Senator Wheeler, in the Senate, charged that 
"Willkie and his little clique of Wall Street bankers, together 
with the motion picture industry, are trying to stir up sentiment 
to take us into war." 

Willkie's campaign for more vigorous aid to the enemies of 
Hitler* was furthered by his own popularity, while in turn his 
esteem with the public was increased by the growing importance 
of the cause which he had espoused. Willkie had captured the 
hearts of the American people. A Gallup poll, published on 
March 2, 1941, showed that his popularity with the voters was 
on the increase. In September, another Gallup poll reported 
that in a nation-wide survey, Willkie had received the highest 
number of votes of all favorites as "presidential timber" for the 
1944 election, with Secretary of State Cordell Hull in the second 
place and District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey as third. He had 
even won the respect and gratitude of Roosevelt, as reported by 
Robert E. Sherwood, for his persistent battle against isolation- 
ism in the Republican Party. 

On a .number of occasions, .furthermore, Willkie immeasur- 
ably assisted the Administration by suggesting modifications of 
policy that brought the emergency legislation more nearly in 
line with American traditions of democracy. Notably in June, 


1941, he induced the President to effect a modification of the 
Property Seizure Bill drafted by Under-Secretary of War Robert 
P. Patterson. This controversial measure had been couched in 
language which inevitably raised suspicion that the free enter- 
prise system was vulnerable. Under Willkie's advice, the War 
Department itself offered the amendment which removed from 
the bill the dictatorial power to draft every man's property for 
federal use. With this amendment, the Property Seizure Act was 
passed by Congress. 

At White House conferences, however, Willkie was not so 
successful in persuading the President to his point of view on 
the convoy question. This divergence highlighted the difference 
in the political philosophies of the two great Americans. To 
Willkie, the indirect methods of F.D.R. were little better than 
hypocrisy an attempt to deceive not only Hitler but also the 
American people. Arthur Krock well understood Willkie's 
views, and with increasing bitterness, in his column in the New 
York Times, charged the President with lack of intellectual 

In mid-July at a mammoth "Beat Hitler" rally in New York, 
Willkie again called for convoys. On July 23, in another mass 
meeting in the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Willkie ap- 
pealed to voters to demand that their Congressmen act more 
promptly in establishing the first line of American defense. 

Again events ran ahead of the debaters in the forum of public 
opinion. On September 4, the United States destroyer Greet, 
on patrol duty to Iceland, reported to the Navy Department 
that an unidentified submarine, presumably a German U-boat, 
had attacked the patrol ship by firing torpedoes, which fortu- 
nately missed their mark. The Greer immediately counter- 
attacked with depth charges. Once more, Wheeler, Nye and 
the isolationist press scored Willkie as well as the President. 
Willkie replied, in an address commemorating Yugoslav liberty, 
by urging the President to meet the Nazi threat openly by 
resorting to convoy. 

It was not until September 11, several days after the State 
Department had reported that the United States government- 
owned steamship Sessa had been torpedoed and sunk without 
warning on August 17, that President Roosevelt broadcast his 


order to the Navy "to shoot on sight." Isolationists denounced 
the order as an "unauthorized declaration of war." Willkie 
immediately applauded the decision, adding: "This is the time 
for all Americans to rally to the President's support." 

By the end of August, Willkie had enough information to 
lead him to believe that the patrol of the sea lanes by the Navy 
had practically been developed into a convoy system. The forth- 
right Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, finally admitted that 
convoying was under way, when, on September 15, he told the 
American Legion Convention in Milwaukee that on the mor- 
row the Navy would provide protection for ships of every flag 
carrying Lend-Lease supplies to Iceland. Obviously the British 
Navy had convoyed vessels from Iceland to the British Isles from 
the beginning of this operation. From April to September 
Willkie had constantly urged the convoy system. The final 
result, therefore, was both a vindication and a victory for his 

Public opinion polls began to show more strongly than ever 
before that Willkie's campaign for aid to Britain had captured 
the public mind. A Gallup poll taken in April at the time that 
Willkie first advocated convoys indicated that forty-one per cent 
of the voters who were questioned favored the use of American 
convoys. Another poll, announced on May 20, indicated that 
fifty-two per cent demanded convoys. By early June the per- 
centage of voters for convoys, recorded by the Gallup poll, had 
risen to fifty-five. A poll on the occupation of Iceland, reported 
in mid-July, gave sixty-one per cent in support. Still another 
poll on October 2 showed that sixty-one per cent of the voters 
who were questioned supported the shoot-on-sight convoy 

A heavy handicap upon American protection of the sea lanes 
had been the Neutrality Act of 1939. Ever since the passage of 
Lend-Lease, Willkie had stood for repeal of the entire Neu- 
trality Act. By the end of the summer of 1941, he felt that the 
campaign of internationalism might well concentrate on this 
objective. On October 6, in an address before the National 
Republican Club in New York, he branded the Act as "a piece 
of hypocrisy and a deliberate self-deception by which we tried 
to lull ourselves into a sense of safety." He made the audacious 


assertion that the Republicans should take the lead in the repeal 
of this Act: "I recommend that the Republican Party, through 
its membership in Congress, forthwith and forthrightly, can- 
didly and courageously, take the leadership in the repeal of 
the Neutrality Law/' He reminded his audience that neither 
the extension of the Selective Service Act nor the Lend-Lease 
Bill could have been passed without the "courageous votes of 
some members of the minority party." 

The President was at last spurred to action. In the spirit of 
the Loyal Opposition, he took the unusual procedure of calling 
a bipartisan conference of congressional leaders to discuss the 
measure. Eight persons were invited to the White House, three 
of whom were Republicans. The minority party was repre- 
sented by Senators Charles McNary of Oregon, Warren Austin 
of Vermont, and Representative Charles A. Eaton of New 
Jersey. Of the three, only McNary had expressed himself as 
unfavorable to repeal. The following day the President held 
a second bipartisan conference and added on the Republican 
side Representative Joseph Martin of Massachusetts, who op- 
posed the repeal, and Representative James W. Wadsworth of 
New York, who favored it. Accordingly on October 9, three 
days after Willkie's New York speech, the President sent a 
message to Congress asking for repeal of section 6 of the Neu- 
trality Act of 1939, which prohibited the arming of merchant 
vessels so that henceforth American ships under the protection 
of their own guns might increase the flow of material aid to 
nations resisting Axis aggression. 

It was felt at the White House conference that with the strong 
opposition in Congress probably no more than this could be 
secured. There were those who humorously referred to the pro- 
posal as a "policy of scuttle and run instead of cash and carry." 
Nevertheless, a few days later the House approved the Presi- 
dent's request by a vote of 259 to 138. But the real struggle 
came in the Senate, where an effort was made for stronger action. 

Relying upon Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, Willkie 
sought to rally the Republicans in the upper house to support 
outright repeal. The young New England Senator found his 
colleagues apathetic and in some cases hostile. Three of them, 
however, stood firmly together: Bridges, Warren Austin, and 


Chan Gurney of South Dakota. This little group which dared 
to lead the fight had to endure the slurs and sneers of their 
fellow Republicans. Each day as they came on the floor someone 
would jibe, "Good morning, Wendell," or "Have you got your 
orders from Willkie today?" David A. Reed, former Senator 
from Pennsylvania, snapped: "Willkie is just a stooge for Presi- 
dent Roosevelt. He and the Republicans with him are com- 
pletely out of step with the majority of the party." 

Among Republican Senators who took a strong opposition 
stand were Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Hiram Johnson 
of California, Robert Taft of Ohio, Gerald P. Nye of North 
Dakota, Charles Tobey of New Hampshire, and the Progressive, 
Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin. While most of these men later 
proudly accepted the bipartisan foreign policy, they had not yet 
become internationally minded. Strangely enough, it was 
Arthur Vandenberg who, four years later as the ranking minor- 
ity member of the Foreign Relations Committee, was to assume 
the leadership of a bipartisan foreign program and to make it 
part of the Republican policy as announced in the report, 
"Accomplishments of the Republican Congress," released on 
July 1, 1948. In fact, one of the most impassioned speeches 
against the measure was made by Vandenberg on October 27, 
1941, in which he said that repeal of the Neutrality Act would 
"needlessly and unwisely ask for war." He even proposed that 
an effort be made for a negotiated peace with Hitler and the 
Axis Powers. The Democratic opposition was led by Burton 
Wheeler and Bennett Champ Clark. In the cloakrooms, Wheeler 
whipped the Republicans into a fury of resentment by his 
insulting comments about the "Wall Street boss of the Repub- 
lican Party." In protest at the repeal of the Neutrality Act, 
Wheeler arranged a rally at Madison Square Garden on the 
evening of October 29 with Charles Lindbergh as the principal 
speaker. This meeting had little influence either on public 
opinion or on congressional voting. It was, moreover, the last 
large audience that the flier addressed in his opposition to aid 
to the Allies. 

In the meantime, Willkie worked desperately to bolster his 
little group of supporters in Congress and to keep alive that 
small flame of the Loyal Opposition. He wrote a message to 


Bridges, signed by one hundred prominent Republicans from 
forty states including six governors and twenty-four national 
committeemen, asking for repeal of the Neutrality Act. This 
encouragement from the party ranks outside of Congress was 
not easy to obtain in so short a time, but it was most effective 
in strengthening the position of his few loyal defenders in the 
Senate. With this show of confidence, the Willkie Republicans 
now made a surprise move by introducing a resolution for out- 
right repeal. Their opponents immediately dubbed it the Will- 
kie Amendment. Although it was defeated by 78 to 12, it did 
point the way for a bolder action on repeal. The New York 
Times commented: "It is the opinion of many in Washington 
that had not Willkie Republicans grabbed the ball and had 
not the former Republican nominee followed with the petition 
of 100 outstanding party leaders for repeal of the remnants of 
the law, Administration leaders would have let the armed-ship 
resolution go its route and waited until later to attempt to repeal 
the other sections." 

At the end of October, the sinking of the U.S. destroyer 
Reuben James off the coast of Iceland while on convoy duty 
made a profound impression on public opinion. The further 
announcement by the Navy that thirteen American-owned mer- 
chant ships had been sunk by Nazi torpedoes within the past 
six months, with a loss of seventy-one lives, strengthened the 
growing feeling for action. The Willkie forces received another 
unexpected boost from the Gallup poll released in the New 
York Times on November 5. 

"Should the Neutrality Act be changed to permit American 
merchantmen to be armed?" 


Yes No Undecided 

Mid-October 72% 21% 1% 

Today 81% 14% 5% 


Yes No Undecided 

Mid-October 49% 44% 7% 

Today 59% 34% 7% 

These statistics supported Willkie's statement that the majority 


of the rank-and-file Republicans approved his stand for repeal. 

It was not, however, until November 7 that the bitter debate 
in the Senate ended and the vote was taken: 50 for the amend- 
ment and 37 opposed. The resolution for amendment of the 
Neutrality Act was for repeal of sections 2, 3 and 6, which was 
more than the President had asked for in his message of October 
9. Repeal of sections 2 and 3 removed the restrictions from mer- 
chant ships entering combat zones and belligerent ports, and re- 
peal of section 6 permitted the arming of merchant ships. Six 
brave Republicans voted for the measure: Bridges, Austin, Ball, 
Gurney, White, and Barbour. Among the prominent Republi- 
cans who voted against it were Vandenberg, Tobey, Taft, Nye, 
Brewster, and Hiram Johnson. Because this resolution differed 
from the one passed by the House in mid-October it had to be 
returned to the lower chamber for approval. Within a few days 
the House passed the measure by the slender margin of eighteen 
votes. The tally was 212 to 194. Twenty-two Republicans sup- 
ported the bill or it would have lost. Again an important 
' Administration measure had been saved by the strong direction 
of the leader of the Loyal Opposition. The astounding part of 
this success was that Willkie had to work from outside the 
legislative halls and against a formidable wall of opposition 
of the party from within. Turner Catledge, writing in the 
New York Times of October 12, said: "The Republicans in 
Congress are a straggling, leaderless minority each hoping to 
save his own skin." To attempt some kind of organized leader- 
ship under conditions of such obvious confusion and bitterness 
would have seemed hopeless to one less dauntless than Willkie. 

Such men as Tobey and Vandenberg were slow to accept the 
broader concept of responsible opposition. But as soon as the 
bipartisan foreign policy caught the imagination of the people, 
there were a number of Republicans and even Democrats who 
hastened to claim the credit for it. In later years, Senator Van- 
denberg admitted in a private conversation that Willkie had in 
fact paved the way for the bipartisan foreign policy. He even 
conceded that the Loyal Opposition of Willkie was the very 
spirit of the agreement between the two parties that saved the 
Charter of the United Nations in 1945 from the fate of the 
Covenant of the League of Nations in the United States Senate 


a quarter century earlier. It was regrettable that Cordell Hull 
ever maintained his hostility to the Republican leader and 
steadfastly refused to give Willkie this recognition. When writ- 
ing his Memoirs, Hull declined to accept the suggestion of a 
friend to give at least honorable mention to Willkie in the 
origin of the bipartisan foreign policy. Indeed, the Secretary 
liked to feel that he alone originated what he called the "Non- 
partisan Foreign Policy." 

Of course, the burden of such a policy must rest with the 
minority party. It is this party which must agree to co-operate 
with the Administration. The party in power cannot make this 
decision. It is true that the majority party has to show a will- 
ingness to confer with the opposition to achieve this support, 
but the burden of effective response logically comes from the 
party out of power. It was Willkie who pointed the way to 
co-operation on foreign policy and who at great hazard to his 
political fortunes won some Republicans to this viewpoint. It 
was he who broke the solid phalanx of isolationism within his 
party which in fact made co-operation tenable. It should also 
be remembered that this speech on the Loyal Opposition was 
made in November, 1940. It was not until 1945 that the Van- 
denberg-Hull agreement for a bipartisan foreign policy was 

Events which were edging the United States towards the 
catastrophe of the Second World War were beginning to fit 
into a pattern. On June 22, the Fiihrer astonished the world 
by declaring war on Soviet Russia. While Kiev and other Rus- 
sian cities were bombed by German warplanes, columns of the 
Wehrmacht crossed the Russian borders. So sudden was the 
attack that only a few days earlier Communist Party members 
had picketed the White House in Washington, decrying aid to 
Britain. On order from the Politburo in Moscow, they learned 
that the party line had changed overnight. The same Commu- 
nists now praised aid to Britain and begged for similar aid for 
Soviet Russia. 

In November came the long negotiations with the Japanese 
Ambassador Nomura for an understanding with Japan. A spe- 
cial envoy, Saburo Kurusu, arrived from Tokyo to aid in the 
discussions. Finally on November 26, after infinite patience, 


the Secretary of State handed the Japanese diplomats a historic 
paper. It was not an ultimatum. It stated simply that trade 
relations between the two countries could not be resumed until 
the invading armies of Japan should be withdrawn from China. 

On Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, Willkie received 
the news of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. He was 
shocked but not surprised. Willkie had publicly shown far more 
suspicion of the Japanese militarists than had the President. 
As early as September, 1940, in his San Francisco address, he 
had called upon the President to pursue a more vigorous policy 
towards the Japanese Government than F.D.R. was willing to 
undertake. Now, however, Willkie had no recriminations. Dur- 
ing the past twelve months, the foreign policy advocated by 
Willkie had been almost parallel with that of the President. 
As a conscientious leader of the Loyal Opposition, he felt as 
much responsible for the results of that policy as the President 
himself. Indeed, he was even more ready than the President to 
deny the vindictive charge of Senator Gerald P. Nye that this 
policy had led the Japanese to attack Hawaii. 

The Imperial Japanese Government had declared war on the 
United States a few minutes before the bombs fell upon Pearl 
Harbor. On the following day, President Roosevelt appeared 
before Congress and asked for a declaration of war. The reso- 
lution was voted. with one dissenting vote, which occurred in 
the House of Representatives. On December 11, Germany and 
Italy (Axis partners of Japan) declared war on the United States. 
Congress immediately replied with unanimous declarations of 

After his victory for a bipartisan foreign policy in Congress, 
Willkie endeavored to secure formal recognition of this pro- 
gram by the Republican National Committee. Therefore, at 
the meeting of the National Committee at Chicago, on April 20, 
1942, representatives of Willkie offered a resolution. Although 
it was strongly opposed by Taft, it was approved and read: 
"We realize that after this war the responsibility of the nation 
will not be circumscribed within the territorial limits of the 
United States; that our nation has an obligation to assist in 
bringing about an understanding, comity and co-operation 
among the nations of the world in order that our own liberty 


may be preserved, and the blighting and destructive processes of 
war may not again be forced upon us and upon the free and 
peace-loving peoples of the earth. 11 The passage of the resolu- 
tion was another of the great achievements of Willkie. 

Throughout the country, the press generally commended the 
resolution of the Republican National Committee as the strong- 
est statement on foreign policy made by the party since its 
defeat in 1932. Said the New York Times, "The resolution 
adopted by the Republican National Committee at its Chicago 
meeting cuts cleanly away from those influences within the 
party which still counseled a 'defensive' war, a war of limited 
liability. . . ." It was indeed a great step away from the policy 
of many Republicans in Congress who sought to oppose every 
constructive proposal that was presented to them by the Admin- 
istration extending from Secretary Hull's reciprocal tariff agree- 
ments in 1934 to the President's Lend-Lease Bill in 1941. 

The success that Willkie achieved with the adoption of his 
resolution on foreign policy by the National Committee was 
quickly followed by his declaration of support to those mem- 
bers of Congress seeking re-election in 1942 who opposed isola- 
tion. "I want to see men elected," he said, "who will see that 
barriers to international trade are broken down." He proposed 
to give his approval to the candidacy of those Republicans who 
subscribed to an international program. To be specific, in re* 
gard to the Illinois election, he frankly declared that if he were 
a citizen of that state he would not vote for Stephen A. Day, 
an unrepentant isolationist Republican candidate for repre- 

Nevertheless, the bipartisan policy in foreign affairs which 
Willkie so ably initiated cost him dearly in party support. After 
the congressional elections in 1942, Joseph W. Martin resigned 
as national chairman. A special meeting of the National Re- 
publican Committee was called early in December in St. Louis. 
Ever the political amateur, Willkie was slow to select a candi- 
date. Not until after the Chicago Tribune gave support to 
Werner W. Schroeder, an isolationist Chicago lawyer, did Will- 
kie instruct his friends as to his nominee. John Hamilton sup- 
ported a young politician from Washington by the name of 
Fred E. Baker. To the surprise of political forecasters, Baker 


tied with Schroeder on the first ballot and took the lead on 
the second ballot. 

Then followed a curious incident. Joe Martin offered a 
motion for a recess. Thereupon one of the Baker men sitting 
in the front row jumped up to see how many members were 
going to vote for a recess. The other Baker men thought that 
this was a signal for all of them to rise. The vote for recess was 
thus an overwhelming majority. Obviously, there was no ad- 
vantage for Baker in such a procedure on the next vote he 
probably would have been elected. By such small margins of 
chance are political careers sometimes made. 

During the intermission, the Old Guard talked party har- 
mony, and prevailed upon both candidates to withdraw their 
names. As the meeting reconvened, Schroeder and Baker walked 
down the center aisle together arm-in-arm. Thereupon Harri- 
son E. Spangler, of Iowa, was promptly elected. To newsmen, 
Willkie commented: "Not victory, perhaps, but averted catas- 
trophe. My fight was to prevent the masthead of the Chicago 
Tribune from being imprinted on the Republican Party. Mr. 
Spangler has a great opportunity for progressive service." 

In the prosecution of the war, the leader of the Loyal Oppo- 
sition was to prove as useful to the nation as he had been in 
the confused twelve months preceding America's entrance into 
the war. All of his eloquence was spent on sustaining the efforts 
of the Administration in the efficient prosecution of the war. 
In a radio address from New York on December 20, on the eve 
of the arrival of Prime Minister Churchill in Washington to 
plan grand strategy with the Administration, Willkie declared 
that the war would be won or lost "as we do or do not out- 
produce the Axis powers." He urged the Administration to cut 
non-defense expenditures to the bare minimum and called for 
an immediate end of bickering between labor and capital. After 
a much-publicized luncheon with F.D.R. on December 15, at 
the White House, a persistent rumor prevailed to the effect that 
Willkie had accepted membership in a Roosevelt war council. 
The rumor was incorrect. Both Willkie and F.D.R. knew that 
Willkie was of far greater service to his country in the prosecu- 
tion of the war as leader of the Loyal Opposition than as a 
federal officeholder. 


In the war years, Willkie gave spectacular service also in 
arousing popular approval of American leadership in forging 
an international organization to maintain the peace at the end 
of the war. In this connection he persisted in carrying on his 
efforts to purge the Republican Party of any isolationist leader- 
ship. In all these endeavors Willkie was to continue to lay the 
foundation for the famous bipartisan policy which in 1945 saved 
the American Senate from repeating the folly of 1919 when the 
Covenant of the League of Nations was wantonly destroyed. 


One World 

IN THE late summer of 1942 Willkie set forth upon his spec- 
tacular tour of a war-torn world in forty-nine days. He traveled 
thirty-one thousand miles, visiting South America, Africa, the 
Middle East, Russia, and China. This voyage by air made him 
almost as well known as Winston Churchill or Franklin Roose- 
velt in the lands he visited. In the course of his journey, he 
discussed the problems of the war and the peace with King 
Farouk, General Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, General Sir 
Bernard L. Montgomery, General Charles de Gaulle, General 
Georges Catroux, Marshal Joseph Stalin and Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek. His daring flight around the globe in time of 
war was an act of outstanding courage. Coming at a time before 
American troops had invaded Africa, when Hitler's armies domi- 
nated Central Europe and Marshal Rommel held North Africa, 
it dramatized the unity of the peoples allied in the great struggle 
against the Axis Powers. It warned the dictators of Germany, 
Italy and Japan that America was devoted to her allies and 
would prosecute the war to the very end. It was a unique and 
historic flight. 

The idea of an expedition to all the nations in conflict with 
the Axis Powers began to formulate in Willkie's mind when he 
was in London in the winter of 1941. At that time, the Chinese 



Ambassador approached him to inquire if he had any intention 
of visiting China. In that case, the Chinese Government would 
be happy to welcome him. After his return to the United States, 
evidence that there was still doubt in certain parts of the world 
as to the sincerity of the American people in the support of 
President Roosevelt's prosecution of the war strengthened his 
resolution to make the spectacular journey. Who would be bet- 
ter prepared to dissipate doubts regarding the unity of the 
American people in carrying the war to an allied victory than 
the leader of the Loyal Opposition in the United States? 

Accordingly, the President agreed to sponsor the flight, ar- 
rangements being made by the White House, rather than by the 
Department of State which ordinarily would have taken charge 
of the mission. Transportation was provided by the Army Air 
Transport. Traveling as an emissary of the President, Willkie 
held diplomatic rank. In fact, he took precedence over the duly 
accredited American Ambassador in each country visited. 

The Department of State looked askance at the venture. 
Through long experience, career diplomats were aware that the 
average American knew little about the function of the Foreign 
Service. All too frequently, officials were looked upon as mere 
agents to further private affairs. If an illustrious person decided 
to visit a foreign country, he invariably expected the Embassy 
or Legation to act in his personal behalf. This placed an addi- 
tional burden upon the already heavily laden Foreign Service 

Every citizen leaving on a mission to a foreign country 
should know that the function of the Foreign Service is to 
carry out the policy of the Government as it is formulated by 
the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress. Typical 
of his countrymen, Willkie lacked the understanding of the 
organization of the Foreign Service, the protocol of the service 
or even its place in the pattern of Government. In diplomacy 
he was to prove himself as amateurish as he was in politics. 
He had been given no briefing as to his conduct, nor as to his 
personal relationship with the American embassies and legations 
in the countries which he visited. For this mistake, the White 
House was chiefly responsible. Removing arrangements for the 
flight from the State Department to the Chief Executive pre- 


eluded directions from the career officers that might have 
.avoided some of the mistakes that later occurred. It would be a 
distortion, however, to magnify these mistakes. The world flight 
of Wendell Willkie performed a great service to the cause of 
the allies banded together under the Atlantic Charter to defeat 
Hitler. The spectacular success of the flight was in the field of 
publicity, not of diplomacy. 

Willkie left Mitchel Field on the twenty-sixth of August, 
1942, in a four-engined Consolidated bomber, christened the 
Gulliver. His companions were the publisher, Gardner Cowles, 
and Joseph Barnes, former correspondent of the New York 
Herald Tribune in Soviet Russia and later deputy director of 
the Overseas Operations of the Office of War Information. This 
choice of companions did not ease the anxiety of the State De- 
partment. Neither Cowles nor Barnes was a specialist in foreign 
affairs nor did they understand diplomatic protocol. 

The principal African stop of Willkie's world flight was Cairo. 
When the Gulliver left New York, the plucky British Eighth 
.Army still faced the Afrika Korps of Marshal Rommel at El 
Alamein. There was intense anxiety whether the victorious Nazi 
desert fighters would break through the British lines and seize 
Cairo and the Suez Canal, the life-line between Britain and the 
Orient. Willkie thus took the risk of capture by the German Fox 
of North Africa. There was a sense of relief to find on landing 
in Cairo that the flag of Britain still floated over the military 
base. Yet rumors and alarms so filled the streets and cafes that 
frightened Egyptians were packing cars for flight southward. 

Fearless of personal danger, Willkie asked to visit the front. 
Accordingly, he was taken to the firing line at El Alamein, where 
he was received by General Bernard L. Montgomery and Gen- 
eral Harold R. L. G. Alexander (commander of all British forces 
in the Middle East). Montgomery and Alexander informed him 
confidentially of their belief that the. Nazi Marshal had been 
stopped, at least temporarily, in his headlong drive towards the 
Suez Canal. 

So enthusiastic was Willkie over this secret information that 
he forgot all wartime caution and with reckless excitement re- 
ported to the press upon his return to Cairo that Alexander and 
Montgomery had assured him that the "battle is over and Egypt 


is saved." With apologies to the American Office of War In- 
formation, the British censor deleted this statement from the 
news releases of the Willkie interview. 

The audience with King Farouk was well reported in the 
Egyptian newspapers. But of even greater news value was the 
interest Willkie aroused among the Egyptian people. They liked 
his informality in appearing on the streets, in the shops and 
caf&, and about the town. His very presence attracted attention 
to his country and the Allied war effort. So well was he received, 
in fact, that the Axis radio attacked his visit as British propa- 
ganda designed to entice Egypt into the war. 

From Cairo, Willkie flew to Beirut, Ankara, Bagdad, 
Teheran, and then Kuibyshev in Soviet Russia. He was met at 
the airport in Beirut by Georges Catroux, Commander-in-Chief 
of the Fighting French in the Levant, with a French guard of 
honor. General de Gaulle was then in Beirut, and received 
Willkie in his Residence des Pins. In the starlit gardens of this 
house, De Gaulle and Willkie talked far into the night. Willkie, 
like F.D.R. on a later occasion, found the Frenchman arrogant, 
defiant and unbending. He urged De Gaulle to retire from Syria 
and renounce the French Empire. It was not a successful meet- 
ing. In Cairo, the British had warned Willkie against showing 
any friendliness to the Fighting French in Lebanon. American 
officials, therefore, were a little worried that his visit with De 
Gaulle might prove embarrassing. The American Embassy, 
however, reported: "There is every reason to believe that, from 
the propaganda point of view, the visit was extremely suc- 

From Bagdad, the American Embassy in Irak reported that 
Willkie's visit had an electrifying effect upon the Arabic popu- 
lation. His simple American manner, especially his casual visits 
to Arab coffee shops and his presence on sightseeing trips, had 
delighted the people. In a caf at Teheran, a Royal Air Force 
officer recognized him and asked him to autograph a dollar bill. 
That started a long line of requests for autographs. Everywhere 
he appeared there was excitement. 

All along the way, at every stop, the staff of the American 
Legation or Embassy had been present when the great bomber 
circled the field and came to a landing. Every courtesy of the 


Foreign Service was extended to Willkie. But nowhere were the 
American diplomats so eager to receive their distinguished coun- 
tryman as they were at Kuibyshev, the war capital of Soviet 
Russia, some five hundred miles north of the Caspian Sea on the 
Volga River. The Ambassador, Rear Admiral William H. 
Standley, had long admired Willkie and felt delighted and 
proud to welcome him. At the flying field to greet Willkie was 
a delegation from the American Embassy. But, from the mo- 
ment of his arrival, there began slow disillusionment. Career 
officers who were eager to respect and serve Willkie were 
appalled by his discourtesy to them. 

With impatience, Willkie waved aside the staff officers who 
had left busy desks to honor him. "Why do I have to waste my 
time with all these diplomats?" he said. "Where are the Ameri- 
can newsmen? I want to see the newsmen/' It so happened that 
the newspaper correspondents were then in Moscow. The career 
officers from the Embassy were chilled. The brusqueness of 
Willkie was occasioned by the advice of his companion, Joseph 
Barnes, as well as his own lack of understanding of the line- 
service of American diplomacy. Barnes had urged Willkie to pay 
no attention to the American diplomats, as they were not liked by 
the Russians. If he ignored the Embassy, said Barnes, he would 
win favor with the Soviet officials. Willkie seemed to feel that 
Barnes had a better understanding of the Kremlin than did the 
American diplomats. 

The error was stupendous. Although Barnes had served as a 
newspaperman in Soviet Russia, he knew little of the problems 
of the Embassy nor did he understand the task of government 
officials. The Embassy is merely the channel through which the 
State Department carries out its relations with foreign govern- 
ments. All policies are determined in Washington. Barnes's 
advice to Willkie, therefore, was not only embarrassing to the 
diplomatic corps but it brought merited contempt from Soviet 
officials. The embassy staff felt that it was fantastically naive for 
Barnes to expect that Willkie could establish better relations 
with the Russians in two short weeks than the duly accredited 
diplomatic agency in its permanent capacity. 

A cordial smile and a warm handshake could not dispose of 
the deep-seated problems which existed between the two na- 


tions. The story of these difficulties has since been well told by 
General John R. Deane, head of the American staff stationed 
in Soviet Russia for Lend-Lease, in his graphic account of the 
war years called Strange Alliance. The Kremlin officials, al- 
though eager to acquire the billions of dollars' worth of food 
and war equipment which the United States unstintedly sent 
to Soviet Russia, nevertheless treated the American officers as 
enemy spies and stubbornly refused to divulge any helpful 
information concerning Nazi Germany. 

Barnes had counseled Willkie against placing any confidence 
in the Ambassador, Admiral Standley, although he was the 
official representative of the American Government to the 
Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, the appointee of the Presi- 
dent. Willkie enjoyed the role of personal emissary of the 
President merely as a courtesy so that he might possess a degree 
of prestige and recognition in the countries he visited. But his 
temporary rank did not invest him with diplomatic authority. 

At the villa on the Volga River which the Soviet Government 
had provided for Willkie, the American Ambassador promptly 
called to acquaint him with the political situation in Russia. 
But Willkie showed clearly by his aloofness that he was not 
interested in this briefing. As a result he never obtained a clear 
understanding of the intricate situation which existed between 
the Soviet Union and the United States. It was Barnes who gave 
him his information about this strange land. 

The Ambassador arranged a reception for Willkie and his 
companions. At first Willkie refused to go. But Admiral Stand- 
ley insisted that he must attend, as all the invitations had been 
sent and the diplomats of other countries were expecting to 
meet him. Somewhat irritably, Willkie consented. But he was 
an ungracious guest. He talked only to a few persons secluded 
in one corner of the room, and left the Embassy after a short 
stay. This was an open discourtesy to the American Ambassador 
and a disappointment to the distinguished guests. 

Andrei Vishinsky, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave 
a dinner for Willkie. Only Americans and Russians were pres- 
ent. It was on this occasion that Willkie lost the confidence of 
Soviet officials. In reply to the toast given by his host, Willkie 
said: "Please help me to see everything in Russia. I want to see 


the churchmen and the people in every phase of activity. Please 
help me. I won't report anything that I don't like. I want to 
improve American-Soviet understanding. I will tell the Ameri- 
can people only the good things I see." 

The American guests were embarrassed over this display of 
obvious bad faith. They perceived that the point was not lost 
on their Russian colleagues. "I have a lot of friends in America. 
Twenty-two million people voted for me. They will believe 
what I tell them!" The shrewd and callous Vishtnsky was amazed 
that any prominent American would utter words with such an 
implied meaning. Then Willkie went further. Imperialism was 
dead, he declared. After the war, there would be only two great 
powers, the United States and Russia. Thus these two nations 
should trust each other. Therewith, he proposed a toast to Soviet 
Russia and the United States. At once, the clever Vishinsky 
arose and replied: "To the Allies, the United States, Great 
Britain, and Russia." Willkie's indirect criticism of Great Brit- 
ain soon reached the ears of the British Embassy and was re- 
sented. Nor did he improve the situation in Kuibyshev by his 
careful effort to avoid the English diplomats. 

As Willkie had expressed a desire to see one of the large 
farms, the Embassy made the necessary arrangements. They 
took him to one of the model farms up the Volga a short distance 
from the war capital. Willkie concluded that it was a co- 
operative farm. It was, in fact, a state farm. By this time no one 
felt disposed to explain such differences to him. 

The excursion to the state farm was a gala occasion. The 
Soviet Government placed a beautiful new boat at his disposal 
for the trip. The captain of the boat allowed Willkie to take the 
wheel. While the captain's back was turned, Willkie almost 
wrecked the craft. With his lack of dexterity and the strong 
current of the river, he came close to running the craft on the 
bank. Again the American diplomats who accompanied Willkie 
were embarrassed. 

The Embassy arranged with a local hotel for several of their 
best-looking servant girls to prepare and serve a lunch. Such 
delicacies had been procured as sturgeon, caviar and wine. The 
food was packed in baskets and taken below decks. Upon arriv- 
ing, the Russian girls proceeded with their baskets to one of the 


farm buildings in order to prepare the luncheon. They had at 
no time been conspicuous, and thus moved unobserved by the 
Willkie party. Meanwhile, Willkie was conducted on an in- 
spection of the state farm. 

When the party returned from its inspection tour, Willkie 
looked over the table spread with the fine food and expressed 
amazement. "Where did such choice food come from?" he in- 
nocently asked. This was too much for a mischievous member 
of the embassy staff. With serene countenance, he replied that 
it had been produced on the farm. "And the pretty girls, too?" 
he asked. "Yes," was the reply, "they belong to the farm, too!" 
No one ever revealed the truth to him. They felt that he would 
not appreciate the humor of it. But the story brought much 
merriment around the Embassy. 

The American career officers who accompanied Willkie, disci- 
plined by diplomatic protocol, were shocked at his constant 
desire for publicity. They resented his insistence on taking the 
newsmen with him wherever he went. They resented the poses 
he assumed, particularly a picture in which he had his arm 
around the neck of a cow. Of course, the entire trip was actually 
based on publicity in order to shape public opinion abroad and 
in America. From Willkie's viewpoint, therefore, the newsmen 
were essential. 

At Kuibyshev occurred the most distressing episode of the 
entire flight. One evening, the Embassy entertained Willkie 
with a box-party at the ballet. The box was situated just off the 
stage, in fact it even projected over the stage. As the dance was 
performed, Willkie suddenly decided he should present a bou- 
quet of flowers to the ballerina. So he whispered to an aide from 
the Embassy to rush out and procure a bouquet. The distressed 
young man explained that there were no flower shops open in 
Kuibyshev so late at night. Willkie insisted that he find flowers 
somewhere. The official left the theatre bewildered, but an idea 
occurred to him. He hastened to a park near by and picked a 
large bunch of blossoms. They were faded and frost-bitten, but 
nevertheless flowers. He tied them together with string, and 
returned to the opera box. 

At the conclusion of the performance, to the consternation of 
the audience, Willkie climbed over the railing of the box and 


onto the stage. He tripped over an electric light cord and almost 
fell, but managed to regain his balance by wildly pawing the 
air. The audience sat stunned. The NKVD tensed for action. 
This sort of thing was not done in Russia. The Americans in 
the box sat embarrassed and helpless as they watched him move 
clumsily across the stage and up to the dancer. He presented her 
with the tawdry bunch of flowers and then kissed her. The 
awkward situation was saved by one quick-witted member of 
the Embassy sitting in the audience. He began to applaud, in- 
dicating it was a kindly gesture. Other Americans promptly did 
likewise. The audience relaxed. They understood. It was a queer 
American custom. 

From Kuibyshev Willkie and his entourage went to Moscow 
to meet Stalin. Despite all the snubs, the ever-courteous Standley 
accompanied the Willkie party in order to make the necessary 
arrangements for the interview. The stay in Moscow went off 
somewhat better than the visit to Kuibyshev. Here Willkie 
actually went out of his way to associate with the British diplo- 
mats whom he had called "imperialists" while in Kuibyshev. 
This change of conduct was not lost on the Soviet officials and 
further increased their suspicion of their distinguished visitor. 

The interview with the Russian dictator was easily arranged. 
It is protocol for the Ambassador always to accompany visiting 
Americans on such occasions and to be present at the interviews. 
Willkie expressly requested that he be permitted to go alone. 
When he entered the audience room,, however, he found that 
Stalin was not alone but had with him his Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov. Naturally this was a disappoint- 
ment to Willkie, as he had expected a man-to-man talk in the 
most confidential manner with the Russian dictator. Willkie had 
further opportunity, however, to converse with Stalin at the 
state dinner accorded him in the Kremlin. As guest of honor at 
the five-hour banquet, he sat next the Russian dictator. Many 
toasts were drunk. But one was of special interest. Stalin arose 
and announced that he wished to propose a toast. He stated 
that the Americans had consigned to the Soviet Government 
some 150 airplanes. These planes had not yet arrived. They had 
been detained by Britain. "Therefore," he said, "I propose a 
toast to those thieves who stole them from usl" 


The British Ambassador, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr (Lord 
Inverchapel), rose somewhat stiffly and attempted to save the 
situation by resort to humor. Willkie himself relieved the ten- 
sion by standing up and declaring that everyone must remember 
that the British had been sorely pressed and had carried the 
brunt of the defense of the West. When he sat down, Stalin 
leaned over and said, through an interpreter, "Mr. Willkie, I 
like you. I think you are the kind of fellow who would steal 
airplanes yourself!" 

The sequel to the airplane story took place after Willkie had 
returned to America. He then learned that these planes were 
diverted from the consignment to Russia to be used a few weeks 
later in the invasion of North Africa (November 8, 1942). If 
Stalin had known of their destination he would have felt less 
grieved, or if he had trusted the Allies who shared with him 
so generously their short supplies, he would have accepted this 
diversion with better grace. 

Iwestia, the official newspaper of the USSR, published a press 
interview with Willkie in which he said that the most effective 
method of winning the war would be for the United States and 
Great Britain to open the second front. This statement had not 
been cleared through the Embassy and was considered a danger- 
ous remark. Indeed, the American officials were indignant over 
such irresponsible comments, which could only make the Rus- 
sians more critical and more demanding of action in the West, 
whereas the plans for the invasion of the continent were going 
forward as fast as possible. 

Stalin had turned on his charm for Willkie, as he always did 
with visitors. Emissaries could be easily flattered by his kind 
attention and invariably they would return to their homeland 
to report to the people what a wonderful man the dictator of 
Russia was and how easy he was to get along with. Such visits 
always resulted in excellent propaganda for Stalin, which an- 
noyed the diplomats who had the irksome, day-by-day problems 
to handle. To visitors Stalin appeared, as one embassy official 
expressed it, more like a sweet old man who should be doing 
his knitting than as a man of steel. His simple, affable appear- 
ance easily beguiled visitors to the Kremlin unless they looked 
closely at his eyes, which were coldly sharp and piercing. While 


he cleverly mesmerized many callers, no distinguished personal- 
ity ever took him in. His policy was based on hard reality. 

All the top-ranking officials of the USSR lost confidence in 
Willkie. While they might enjoy a newspaperman slapping the 
British for "imperialism," they were surprised that an American 
representing the President should openly criticize a friendly 
power. Also they recognized the American Embassy as the official 
agency of the United States Government, even though they felt 
unfriendly to it. Nor could the Russians understand an emis- 
sary who ignored his own Embassy, and snubbed his 

According to official reports from Kuibyshev, Willkie was a 
child in the hands of Stalin, Molotov and Vishinsky. He never 
got close to conditions in Soviet Russia and saw only what he 
was intended to see. In One World, he proudly declared that the 
Soviet Government gave him every opportunity to examine in 
his own way, war plants, collective farms, schools, libraries, and 
even the fighting front. Although Willkie actually believed he 
was under no surveillance, diplomatic reports deny that he had 
any freedom of movement. For example, there was no inspec- 
tion tour of the real front. Willkie had been taken to Rzhev, 
several miles back of the firing line but close enough so that he 
could hear the cannons. 

Willkie took great delight in talking to Russians engaged in 
a variety of occupations. He made many expeditions around 
Moscow asking people, through an interpreter, how they liked 
their work and how they liked communism. In such manner he 
questioned even the heads of factories. This would be tanta- 
mount to asking Charles Wilson how he liked his work and 
how he liked being an American. In one group that Willkie 
talked to in his round of visits was a girl who spoke English. She 
had visited America on Soviet business. Willkie asked her why 
she was a Communist. As she was a bureaucrat her reply was 
characteristic. She said that the Communist Government had 
given her a chance to develop, to become educated, and to travel. 
Her people had been illiterate peasants, and very poor. Only 
through the Soviet regime could she have so improved her 
condition. She avowed her complete freedom saying, "I can do 
anything I want to do. I can even sleep with you, if I want to!" 


To Willkie, it appeared that the Communists had created an 
effective society which possessed "survival value." The power of 
this nation, he held, made it necessary for the United States to 
find a way to work with it when peace at last should come. The 
future, he said, belonged to America and the Soviet Union. But 
he advised the President to be tough with Russia. "Stalin is a 
tough man; he came up the hard way and there is only one 
language he understands," said Willkie. "Send to Russia as 
ambassador a strong, two-fisted man who can stand up and talk 
to Stalin." 

Returning to Kuibyshev from Moscow, Willkie prepared to 
take off for China. He asked one of the members of the embassy 
staff if he were acquainted with the Ambassador in China. "Yes," 
said the official, "he is a good friend of mine." "Well," said 
Willkie, "I want you to cable him not to interfere with me in 
any way. I want a free hand to do what I want to do." Replied 
the diplomat coldly, "I am sorry, but I do not know him that 

No American official in the war capital of Russia was sorry 
when on September 28, the giant Gulliver took off for its goal 
four thousand miles away. One official described Willkie as a 
bully who had been rude to every person in the Embassy. And 
yet, it was generally agreed that he had received good publicity 
in the Soviet press, which in turn had produced a favorable and 
friendly attitude on the part of the Russian people. Some even 
admitted that there was an advantage in time of war of showing 
foreign peoples that the opposition party was also behind the 
policy of the Washington Administration. The effectiveness of 
Willkie's visit in Russia was entirely with the Russian people. 
The Soviet diplomats were courteous but unimpressed. It was 
the populace that was interested in this American citizen who 
visited their country to talk to them and to try to understand 
them. He wanted nothing but good will and they responded in 
kind. Again his work as a publicist was superb. 

The flight to China followed the Hi River along the old silk 
trade route from Tashkent in Central Asia. Nowhere Willkie 
went did the public response prove so great or the leaders of the 
Government show more gratitude for his coming than in China. 
He was the only American visitor of distinction to have come 


to China in many years. After him soon came Patrick Hurley, 
Henry A. Wallace, and Donald Nelson. But, coming at a time 
when the Chinese people were spiritually exhausted after their 
stubborn resistance to the Japanese invasion for over ten years 
and their belief that the United States did not fully understand 
their plight, the visit of Wendell Willkie was most timely. His 
personality had a stimulating effect in spite of the fact that 
American prestige had suffered greatly. Ever since the invasion 
of Manchuria in 1931 China had struggled against Japanese 
aggression, always hoping that sooner or later the United States 
and Great Britain would join her. She had waited patiently 
for that great day. Then came Pearl Harbor and the Japanese 
declaration of war on the United States. America at last was 
China's ally. Help could not now be far away. But in rapid 
succession came the shocking defeats in Malaya, Java, and the 
Philippines. The military prestige of the white men was ques- 
tioned. Discouragement again settled over the people of China. 
The visit of Willkie, therefore, brought to this distracted land 
a hope and a promise of better times to come. 

Willkie landed at Lanchow on the Yellow River in the Kansu 
Province far up in the northwestern part of the country. He 
was met by an attach^ of the American Embassy and Dr. Hol- 
lington K. Tong, Vice-Minister of Information of the Chinese 
Government. So eager was the Chinese Government that all 
should go well that the Kuomintang arranged a demonstration 
for him. Across the main street were banners reading, "The 
Pacific Is More Important Than the Atlantic" and "Defeat 
Japan First." This not-too-subtle propaganda was spoken of in 
the Chinese press as the spontaneous work of the people. 

For two weeks before his arrival there had been a clean-up 
campaign to make the town look its best. For the demonstration, 
uniformed groups including the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts 
paraded before the distinguished visitor. The morning of the 
celebration, the people were rounded up from the hovels and 
the back streets into a parade line. Some of them were so igno- 
rant they could not understand what it was all about. Those in 
the front rows were given paper American flags to wave as the 
great man rode past. They waited dumbly in the street for hours 
and patiently wondered what it meant. The Chinese newspapers 


were ordered to write editorials on the event. Beneath all the 
show and fanfare was a degree of pathos. The struggling Gov- 
ernment was attempting to emulate a western welcome and 
western propaganda. 

From Lanchow, Willkie stopped at Chengtu, capital of 
Szechwan Province and the cultural center of Free China, on his 
way to the war capital of Chungking. Chengtu had become the 
refugee center of the private colleges in China. Nine universities 
were here trying to use the facilities of the two local universi- 
ties in a round-the-clock series of shifts. The Chinese professors 
and students were attempting to grapple with the real problems 
of their society. 

On the morning of October first, Willkie spoke to a mass 
meeting of the faculty, students, and townspeople on the campus 
of the West China Union University. The speech was trans- 
lated by Dr. Y. P. Mei, acting president of Yenching University. 
The event had been widely heralded and people came from afar, 
trudging over the rough, hilly countryside, and through the 
open fields. Over ten thousand people, including four thousand 
students, stood on the sloping campus. They presented a mag- 
nificent and colorful scene, the hope of the New China. 

Willkie spoke to this great audience as he would have talked 
to college students in Indiana. He did not realize that in China 
the place of highest respect and honor is that of the scholar. In 
China, public men do not wisecrack about the learned profes- 
sions. In ignorance of all this, Willkie expansively said: "I have 
had many experiences in my life, but this is the first time I have 
had a college president to translate for me. I rather enjoy this 
experience because since I left college twenty-six years ago I 
have wanted to make one of those fellows work for me. As a 
matter of fact, my six years in the university were not devoted 
so much to acquisition of facts, but rather to the outwitting of 
the faculty and the increasing of their discomfiture. I can't tell 
you how much I am enjoying the passing of this on to you 
through a college president as my Charlie McCarthy!" Although 
the people were a little bewildered by such remarks, they were 
thrilled and encouraged by his very presence. The coming of 
this great American gave them a spiritual link with the magic 
country across the sea. 


Willkie was still taking advice from Joseph Barnes. Hence 
the irksome incidents which had happened from Cairo, to Mos- 
cow were repeated in Chungking. The Ambassador, Clarence 
Gauss, a career diplomat of long service, offered the hospitality 
of his house. It is customary for a visitor of distinction to spend 
the first night in his own Embassy. Mr. Gauss had very limited 
quarters with only one bedroom. But he had moved out of this 
space to accommodate his honored guest. However, Willkie re- 
fused to cross the river to stay at the Embassy, which was consid- 
ered a high discourtesy. The Chinese Foreign Office, observing 
protocol, had arranged his schedule in consultation with the 
American Embassy. Taking matters into his own hands, Willkie 
proceeded at once to the charming bungalow provided him by 
the Chinese Government. Flowers had been placed in all the 
rooms, and the house was well supplied with American cigarettes 
*and old wine. His bed was made up with sheets of the soft white 
silk from the famous looms at Szechwan. 

To the curious Chinese newsmen who questioned him about 
his statement in Russia on the second front, he said: "I always 
have a bad habit of saying what I think." This led the Army and 
Navy Journal, of Washington, D. C., to say in its issue of Octo- 
ber 3, "It is fortunate for the war effort of the United Nations 
that Willkie has ceased to be the 'personal representative* of the 
President, and in Chungking will be merely a 'visitor'; else he 
might be demanding with some semblance of authority that a 
Second Front be established immediately in proximity to Japan 
as he desires to be done in Europe within fighting distance of 
Germany." The sharpness of the quip was not diminished by 
the error as to Willkie's official status which remained the same 
throughout the trip. 

The Ambassador took Willkie to call on the aged President 
of China, Lin Sen, and on the Generalissimo and Madame 
Chiang Kai-shek. Willkie was obviously irked by this courtesy, 
although it had been requested by the Chinese Foreign Office. 
This was protocol, and without it Willkie would have had no 
formal standing. As they sat in the outer office waiting to see 
President Lin Sen, Willkie asked rather pointedly how long 
Gauss had been in the Far East. A career diplomat, he replied 
patiently that he had been in various sectors of the East about 


thirty years. Willkie said, "I suppose you speak Chinese?" "No," 
replied the diplomat, "I guess I was one who could never 
master it." 

When Willkie returned to the United States he made wide 
criticism of the Ambassador, especially upon the point of his 
not speaking the language of the Government to which he was 
accredited. A short time later he went to a dinner party and fate 
seated him across the table from a friend of Gauss who twitted 
him. Said the friend: "What do you think officially of Ambassa- 
dor Grew?' 1 "A fine man, a fine man," promptly replied Willkie, 
unthinkingly. "Does he speak Japanese?" the friend shot back. 
Willkie reddened as he saw the point. 

The Embassy had cause to be embarrassed on several occa- 
sions during the following five days of the visit. President Lin 
Sen gave a state dinner for Willkie, who accordingly sat next 
to the distinguished host. The Americans present were pained 
to see their countryman lift the glass of wine to his lips before 
a toast could be proposed to him and with no sign of courtesy 
to the President. This was not an auspicious beginning, but 
matters grew worse during the evening. The President had 
once studied in the United States and he spoke very correct 
English, but in a slow, halting and high-pitched voice. He at- 
tempted to explain certain things to Willkie in English. But 
Willkie showed his indifference by turning his attention else- 

In like manner, he ignored the Minister of Economics, Dr. 
Wong Wen-hoa. Willkie had expressed a desire to visit a cotton 
mill, a paper mill, and the chemical works. Accordingly, this 
tour had been arranged by the Embassy through the Chinese 
Foreign Office and it did not provide for any correspondents. 
The brilliant Dr. Wong, who spoke English well, himself of- 
fered to conduct this little expedition. Unimpressed by this 
gallant courtesy, Willkie himself called together a dozen or so 
journalists to accompany him and instructed them to keep close 
by so as to take copious notes of all that he said and did. As they 
began their itinerary, therefore, the newsmen closed in around 
Willkie and the Minister of Economics trailed along at the end 
of the procession with an attach^ of the American Embassy. At 
all points Willkie was too busy with his reporters to ask any 


questions of Dr. Wong or to receive any information from that 

learned gentleman. 

The meeting with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang 
Kai-shek, however, went off with grace and charm. Willkie was 
captivated by the beauty and delightful personality of Madame 
Chiang. After the Ambassador made the presentation there were 
numerous private meetings at which neither the Ambassador 
nor any other representative of the American Embassy was 
present. This was contrary to protocol, and caused chagrin at 

the Embassy. . 

Dr T. V. Soong (brother of Madame Chiang), Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, who was then in Washington, had asked the 
Chinese Government to make every effort to see that the Willkie 
visit was a success. He stated that Willkie might be the next 
President of the United States or, failing that, most likely would 
be seated at the Peace Conference where issues vital to China 
would be discussed. Added to this ardent desire to make a friend 
of one who might become a powerful influence for China was 
the natural desire of the Chinese to find a direct channel to the 
White House. The Generalissimo did not like to clear through 
the American Embassy. At the same time, the President was 
prone to encourage direct communications, much to the annoy- 
ance of the State Department and the embassies. 

Upon the second meeting with the Generalissimo and his 
wife, Willkie proposed that Madame Chiang should return with 
him to the United States. The Generalissimo sat smiling as 
Willkie pressed his invitation. The great lady of China seemed 
fascinated by the idea. Finally she asked if by such a visit she 
would be likely to secure the planes, tanks, and money so sorely 
needed by China. With enthusiasm Willkie promised that her 
visit would get all the planes and machines China desired. It 
would also do more than anything else, he emphasized, to pro- 
mote good Chinese-American relations. She would be an am- 
bassador of good will, and the best one that China could possibly 
send. In a quiet moment aside, she told Willkie that if he would 
speak to her sister Madame Kung (wife of the Finance Minister), 
and persuade her to urge the matter upon the Generalissimo, 
he would consent. It seemed that the Generalissimo was in awe 
o his sister-in-law and had great respect for her views. Accord- 


ingly, Madame Kung was won over, and through her Chiang 
himself. The trip was arranged, although it was decided she 
should go to America at a later date and not return with Willkie 
in his bomber. An invitation from President Roosevelt was dis- 
patched immediately. 

Madame Chiang's visit to the United States took place several 
months later. Her address before Congress was the most brilliant 
event of the session. Not, however, because of the erudition o 
her words, but because of her sheer beauty, her great charm and 
personality, and the simplicity of her plea for aid to China. 
Afterwards in the cloakroom Congressmen discussed not the 
logic of her arguments for greater aid to her stricken country, 
but asked, "Did she use make-up, was her beauty natural?" After 
captivating Congressmen she spoke in a number of the larger 
cities to audiences of five and ten thousand people. The press 
praised her beauty and her wisdom. Indeed she captivated the 
heart of America, as Willkie had predicted. 

In his many speeches in China, Willkie emphasized several 
themes. The most important was that after the war a new world 
must be created. All nations, he said, must be free to seek their 
own aspirations. The imperialistic spheres of influence which 
had held back China's progress for a century must be abolished, 
along with the mandate system of the League of Nations. In 
their place must stand a totally free China entering on a new 
era in which the traditional poverty of China's masses would 
be ended. 

Another theme he stressed was that the time had come for an 
all-out offensive. There must be more American arms for China 
and Russia with immediate "ironclad guarantees against any 
western imperialism in Asia." More planes, especially, must be 
sent to China. All the United Nations should help in this broad 
effort for a world-wide offensive. 

And finally he explained to his audience that 22,000,000 
people voted for him. He wanted to report to these people the 
effort that was being made by the peoples of other lands to win 
victory. By telling his fellow Americans about them and their 
war work he expected to bring about a better understanding 
between the two nations. 

However, much that Willkie said was garbled in the Chinese 


press because of faulty translation. Willkie had placed himself 
in the hands of Mr. Hollington Tong ("Holly"), who did the 
translating. The American Embassy was annoyed, but helpless. 
Thus when Willkie spoke of Woodrow Wilson's dream of a new 
world, Tong translated it by using a term with the connotation 
of "illusion." Several times Willkie talked about the Chinese 
people, meaning the common man, who must have better oppor- 
tunities in the post-war world. This was translated as the 
Chinese nation, or China. 

His radio speech to the Chinese people just before leaving 
the war capital presented the plan of action which offered hope 
not only for winning the war but for a bright new future. He 
proposed that the United States should keep as large an air force 
in China as possible. The United States and Britain should at 
once undertake the recapture of Burma. The United States 
should send bombing planes against Japanese cities. The United 
States should consider the Chinese front and the European front 
as of equal importance. And the United States and China should 
co-operate to the fullest in winning not only a military victory 
but even more important in rebuilding a new and better world 
order in which every people regardless of color, race, or religion 
should enjoy equal freedom to develop its national life. "So 
goodbye and good luck. I hope that the next time I meet you 
again you will all be citizens of a free world," he concluded. 

The American Embassy at Chungking was as disturbed by his 
recommendations for China as had been the Embassy at Kuiby- 
shev by his demand for a second front. On the other hand, 
Willkie considered the protocol of the service as so much red 
tape. This, of course, resulted in endless confusion and embar- 
rassment. While his mission was that of a publicist and it was 
imperative that he get his story into print, it was thought he 
might have used greater tact and been more observant of inter- 
national good manners. His relations with the newspapermen 
were at times rather crass. Shortly after his arrival in Chungking 
Willkie was at a reception where he was the guest of honor, 
when the newsmen arrived. At once he left his Chinese hosts 
for about fifteen minutes while he held a press interview. High 
Chinese officials accepted the rudeness in Oriental good humor. 


Clearly Willkie knew what he wanted to do in China and it 
was not orthodox. Nevertheless he achieved his objective to 
make friends of the Chinese people. Willkie enjoyed his expe- 
ditions alone among the people and the constant mingling with 
the crowds along the narrow, ancient streets. He brought them 
hope and cheer. The people of China were war weary, and worn 
and despondent. But the fire and confidence of this great Ameri- 
can gave courage to valiant millions. He was able to dramatize 
America to them with all its mystery of untold wealth and 
priceless supply of planes and weapons of war. Indeed, he pro- 
moted generous good will he put water in that "raisevarr" of 
good will he so often talked about. 

The Generalissimo and his staff felt that the reception of 
Willkie had gone off well, and that they had made a friend of 
the "next President" of the United States. From the American 
viewpoint, probably no more fitting gesture could have con- 
cluded the Willkie friendship tour than the announcement by 
the United States Government on October tenth, just after 
Willkie had left Chungking, that it was prepared in concert 
with the British Government to relinquish immediately its 
century-old extraterritorial rights in China. 

On the way to Chungking Willkie had anticipated with eager- 
ness an opportunity to talk with Brigadier General Claire Lee 
Chennault, the gallant commander of the American Volunteer 
Group which had recently been inducted into the United States 
Air Force under the designation of the China Air Task Force. 
He had long watched the daring exploits of the American vol- 
unteer airmen who had protected the Chinese Republic in the 
darkest days of the Japanese invasion. The ' 'Flying Tigers" had 
actually held back Japanese air and ground forces from over- 
running all of South China. 

Willkie was therefore disappointed to find that no arrange- 
ments had been made for him to meet Chennault in Chungking. 
When he realized that General Stilwell, the commanding gen- 
eral of the American Army Forces in China, showed little inter- 
est in his request, Willkie began to suspect that the American 
military officers preferred not to have the meeting take place. 
On the eve of his departure he insisted upon visiting with the 


commanding officer of the recent Flying Tigers and was not 
surprised that Stilwell himself then proposed to accompany him 
to the CATF headquarters at Peishiyi. 

Arriving at Peishiyi, Willkie demanded a private talk with 
Chennault. Thus, Stilwell was compelled to wait impatiently 
in the outer office while Chennault and Willkie conversed for 
two hours. To his amazement, Willkie learned that the spec- 
tacular raids against the Japanese air and ground forces were 
being made with only five bombers and that all of China was 
being defended with only forty-eight fighter-planes. He had 
assumed that the Flying Tigers possessed an adequate air force. 

"Have you made any recommendations for expansion," asked 

Chennault replied that he had proposed an American Air 
Force of 105 fighter-planes, 30 medium bombers and 12 heavy 
bombers, with replacements of thirty per cent in fighter-planes 
and twenty per cent in bombers. 

"What will you accomplish with these reinforcements?" asked 

Chennault replied that this air force could not only hold back 
the Japanese armies in South China but also attack Japanese 
shipping off the coast. Since the "life-line" between industrial 
Japan and its overseas conquests in Siam, Cochin-China, Malaya, 
Java, Burma, and the Philippines lay along the South China 
coast, the proposal of Chennault offered great strategic possi- 
bilities. Willkie readily perceived that this plan would greatly 
cripple the Japanese war effort and assist General MacArthur. 

"Has this plan been laid before the President?" queried 

Chennault explained he had followed the necessary chain of 
command. He had formally presented his plan to General Stil- 
well, his superior officer, but he doubted whether it had been 
forwarded to General Geoige C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, in 
Washington. Even if the plan had been sent to the Chief of 
Staff, Chennault was skeptical of Marshall's approval of it. At a 
later date, Willkie was to learn that Stilwell had pigeonholed 
the Chennault plan. Only as a means of wiping out the sting of 
his Burma defeat did "Vinegar Joe" see any merit in attacking 
Japanese shipping off the coast of South China. 


"Would you present this plan to the President, in case he 
ordered you to report it?" asked Willkie. 

"Certainly," replied Chennault. "The President is Comman- 
der-in-Chief of the Army and Navy." 

"Then, would you report to the President, in case a repre- 
sentative of the President ordered you to report?" Willkie 
promptly asked. 

Upon Chennault's eager assent, Willkie said: 

"I am a representative of the President and I order you to 
prepare such a report immediately. I myself will carry it to the 

Chennault was delighted. With his aide, Colonel Merian C. 
Cooper, he spent several days and nights in hasty preparation 
of the report to the President. It was dispatched to Willkie by 
air courier and reached him at Chengtu just before he took off 
for Siberia and Alaska. After his arrival in Washington, Willkie 
presented the report to the President, who seemed equally 
astonished at the lack of support given to General Chennault. 
The President sent the report to the Secretary of War with a 
suggestion for a prompt decision. 

Although American war effort was feverishly concentrated on 
Operation Torch (the invasion of North Africa), it was apparent 
that the fulfillment of promises to the Generalissimo could no 
longer be postponed. In March, 1943, the Fourteenth Air Force 
was activated in China; Chennault was made a Major General; 
and a bomber group of four-engine Liberators (B-24's) arrived 
at Kunming. The Hump tonnage soon rose to nearly thirteen 
thousand tons per month. With these reinforcements, Chennault 
performed miracles in the air. He paralyzed Japanese air power 
in South China, and struck at the Japanese sea route to Burma, 
sinking well over two million tons of merchant shipping and 
forty-four naval vessels. This aid to General Chennault was the 
concrete accomplishment of Willkie's stay in China. By it he 
earned the everlasting gratitude of all those in official circles who 
understood the situation. 

Willkie had departed from Chungking on the ninth of Octo- 
ber. He first flew to Sian in Shensi Province to visit the fighting 
front, which was not far distant from this base-city, before quit- 
ting Chinese territory. At the conclusion of the visit to Sian, the 


Willkie party returned to Chengtu, frofii which point the 
Gulliver took off to circle northward to Fairbanks, Alaska, then 
southward to the States. The ATC transport reached Min- 
neapolis on the thirteenth of October. At Minneapolis, Willkie 
received a message that threw him into a towering rage. Even 
in China, newspapermen had conveyed to him rumors that the 
President was highly displeased with his words and actions 
throughout the tour. The message that he received in Min- 
neapolis confirmed in his mind the criticism he had heard was 
emanating from the White House during his sojourn abroad. 
The President had determined that Willkie, as a presidential 
representative, should make no speeches in the United States 
until he had reported to the White House and obtained a release 
on his remarks. Accordingly, Stephen Early, the President's 
secretary, begged Sam Pryor to undertake the difficult mission 
of getting Willkie to Washington before he made a public ad- 
dress. By concentrated effort, Pryor reached Willkie only a few 
minutes after he landed in Minneapolis and informed him of 
the President's message. 

To Willkie, the President's command must have appeared to 
be nothing less than an attempt to censor him and to intervene 
between himself and that part of the American public that was 
willing to listen to him. Nevertheless, he refrained from any 
public statement and flew directly to Washington to see Presi- 
dent Roosevelt. When he was ushered into the President's study, 
he at once launched into such a tirade as was never heard in that 
room before. Willkie began by saying, "I know that you are the 
President and that you can throw me out, but until you do I 
am going to say a few things to you and you are going to listen." 
He then proceeded to upbraid the President for criticizing him 
while he was overseas. The President evidently listened; at least 
Willkie was not thrown out. 

On the twenty-sixth of October, Willkie made his famous 
report to the people from New York City over the combined 
networks of Columbia Broadcasting System, the National Broad- 
casting Company, the Mutual Broadcasting System, and the 
Blue Network. He told the people where he had been and 
something of what he had seen. Then he made his criticisms and 
recommendations on foreign policy. First, he pointed to the 


"tragically small amount of vital war materials" sent to the other 
nations. Second, he charged this Government with sending in- 
ferior representatives to nations "proud and sensitive/' which 
could only promote unfriendliness. In one instance, he said, a 
minister did not speak the language of the country to which he 
was accredited. Again, Russia was hurt, he declared. At no time 
had a person of Cabinet rank been appointed to a special commis- 
sion sent to the Soviet Union. This had irritated the Moscovites. 
And in the Arab-speaking countries of the Near East, no min- 
ister had been sent of the rank of ambassador. These people 
resented their second-class rating. Lastly, he pleaded for a second 
front to relieve the pressure upon "our superb fighting allies." 

More constructive was his thesis upon the peace which was 
to come. "We must fight our way through not alone to the 
destruction of our enemies but to a new world idea. We must 
win the peace." But to achieve this peace it must be planned for, 
beginning now, on a global basis. The world must be free, and 
America must take an active, constructive part in bringing it 
about. Global thinking, he emphasized, was now essential if 
America was to win the peace. Imperialism must be ended 
forever. To the people of the Far East, he declared, freedom 
meant abolition of the colonial system. And they were looking 
to the United States for leadership. 

Willkie dramatized the working relationship of the peoples of 
the world. "Global unity," he called it. This was an old dream 
which had stirred him ever since he returned from France in 
1919. He had then believed in the League of Nations. Now he 
believed that world peace could only be achieved by all the 
peoples, the free peoples of the world, working together. 

Although Willkie had absented himself from the country 
during the height of the 1942 campaign, and had refused to 
engage in any partisan politics after his return, political com- 
mentators were generally agreed that he had made the best 
speech of the campaign. He had greatly strengthened the inter- 
nationalist group within the party, and he dispelled the feeling 
of many people that he was lacking experience and knowledge 
of international affairs. 

Not content with his radio report to the nation, Willkie pro- 
duced a more enduring report for all to read who might desire. 


He wrote an account called One World. The small book was 
published in March, 1943. It was expected that perhaps one 
hundred and fifty thousand copies might be sold. Eventually 
two million copies rolled off the presses. Willkie told a simple 
story of the peoples he had visited. The human qualities of faith, 
hope, devotion, and labor were the same in all countries. Peoples 
were actuated by the same motives and responded in like man- 
ner the world over. They all wanted freedom. They all wanted 
peace. This was the hope and the foundation of "One World." 

The vivid story gripped the imagination of the people. It 
crystallized the sentiment for world co-operation and interna- 
tional organization. The very title, One World, made people 
think in terms of global unity. The term sank into the public 
consciousness and was used and re-used by speakers from coast 
to coast. The old isolationist view which had become weakened 
during the war period now crumbled and disintegrated under 
his compelling enthusiasm. It paved the way for American ac- 
ceptance of the idea of a new international government under 
the Charter of the United Nations. It was the most important 
book to come out of the war period. 

Willkie as publicist again touched the lofty heights of en- 
lightened leadership. Others did the planning for the United 
Nations and blueprinted its organization, but Willkie publi- 
cized the idea of "One World." None of the international spokes- 
men, not even Roosevelt himself, so warmly appealed to the 
hearts and the imagination of Americans in the cause of global 
unity and global responsibility. Moreover, the book was widely 
read in other lands and contributed to the "reservoir of friend- 
ship." In all history there have been few books that have created 
so much general good feeling among the peoples of the earth. 
It was a triumph that time cannot dull. Willkie made the man 
on the street as well as the man of public affairs conscious of 


A Personality of Contrasts 

WILLKIE WAS a man of many moods and swiftly changing 
facets. He was a man of imagination and temperament, a man 
of contradictions and contrasts. He was many things to many 
people. This made him a complicated individual to understand. 
In fact, he was a stranger to everyone who knew him. Like all 
undisciplined philosophers, he was guilty of defects in logic. 
Nonetheless, no one of his countrymen had made a more 
cogent defense of free enterprise and individualism. Among his 
literary friends he was more amenable to social change than 
he was when talking to bankers from Wall Street. Few of his 
associates had acquaintances with more people in New York 
City than Willkie, yet he was accounted one of the loneliest 
persons in the great metropolis. His glowing personality easily 
attracted numerous friends, yet his ever-thoughtless discourtesies 
alienated them one by one. 

Before a group of a dozen to several hundred persons he was 
a scintillating speaker, but before an audience of ten thousand 
he was a disappointment. He possessed an irresistible will to 
win, yet inevitably he would do the little things to defeat him- 
self. A lawyer trained in logic, a brilliant debater, he was also 
highly emotional and his violent temper frequently involved 
him in saying the wrong things. The top executive of a billion- 



dollar corporation, supposedly a person of caution, he made 
many decisions hastily, even impetuously, and for this reason 
was frequently labeled a poor administrator. He loved to argue 
over ideas but was impatiently contemptuous of those who 
thought more slowly than did he. He was a great showman, a 
front man, a magnificent purveyor of ideas, but too tempera- 
mental and individualistic to be either a good politician or a 
good diplomat, yet withal a man of fine courage. 

One of Willkie's greatest assets was his talent for making 
friends. He was informal and casual. At the end of the workday 
he frequently called unexpectedly upon some friend for a 
cocktail before going home to dinner. One of his favorite late- 
afternoon haunts was the home of Helen Rogers Reid, of the 
New York Herald Tribune. Although her husband was the 
nominal head of the famous newspaper, it was generally recog- 
nized that the personality of this great newspaper came from 
his brilliant wife. At the Reid home, Willkie first met many 
of his dearest friends. 

Willike found stimulation and excitement in a wide variety 
of people. He so thoroughly enjoyed the encounter of fresh 
ideas that he would argue about them until early morning. 
For this reason he had a wide diversity of friends who were 
like so many antennae extending into the world of literature, 
journalism, finance and politics. Willkie's friends among the 
intellectuals were not limited to the masculine sex. Career 
women, typical of New York's commercial and artistic life, 
intrigued him. Despite the unhappy home of his youth and 
the lack of sympathy between him and his mother, he always 
maintained an admiration for the successful professional 
woman. When he was in Turkey, on his round-the-world flight, 
he met in Ankara a woman distinguished in law who was at 
the time arguing a case before the Turkish Supreme Court. 
He recounted the story in One World and said: "And this was 
in Turkey. I could not help thinking of my boyhood days 
when, only forty years ago, my mother's active practice of the 
law and interest in public affairs were considered unusual 
almost peculiar in central Indiana." 

One of the outstanding intellectuals in New York of the last 
several decades was Irita Van Doren, the divorced wife of Carl 


Van Doren. She was literary editor of the Herald Tribune, 
a woman of dynamic energy, and a critic of unusual discern- 
ment. Willkie was fascinated by her whimsical logic and catholic 
interests. Essays that she thought he ought to read were put 
aside for him. Books in the field of politics and economics were 
brought to his attention. It was she who encouraged him in 
politics, and it was she who became the sounding board for 
many of his ideas. Through her he also met the literary group 
that gave him unusual mental stimulation. A close bond of 
friendship and mutual interests bound them together for the 
last eight years of his life. 

The charm and personal attractiveness of Willkie were re* 
corded by Raoul de Roussy de Sales in The Making of Yester- 
day, his vivid account of this distracting era. He told of the 
first time he had had a close-up of Willkie, at a dinner party at 
Hamilton Armstrong's in May, 1941. "It was a great surprise. 
I understand a little better his charm for women: a lock of his 
hair carelessly falls over his forehead, the eyes which can take 
on an expression of reverie, the very masculine looks, the good 
health and a certain warmth of the generous good fellowall 
this can be pleasing." 

Willkie's personal attraction reached even the man in the 
street. After the presidential campaign of 1940, which intro- 
duced him to millions of voters, demonstrations occurred when- 
ever he appeared in public. Upon his return to New York from 
his trip to England in early 1941, a crowd of several hundred 
was at the airport to meet him, although his plane arrived at 
eight o'clock on Sunday morning. When he returned from his 
world flight in 1942, he went to Rushville to join his wife. 
Together they came back to New York by train. En route, they 
took luncheon in the public dining car. As they left the car 
everyone rose as one person and remained standing until they 
had departed. It was a simple tribute of deep respect. 

Before he became a candidate for the presidency, the Willkies 
frequently attended the theater. After the presidential campaign 
of 1940, the family resumed the practice. Philip often accom- 
panied his father and mother. At the theater, as soon as the 
family of three found their seats, it was not unusual for a dozen 
admirers to press around Willkie, requesting his autograph on 


the theater programs. During the intermission, when father 
and son went to the foyer for a breath of air, they would soon 
be surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic supporters. After the 
show, not infrequently a police guard was required to conduct 
the Willkie family through the crowd to a taxicab. In the same 
theater, at the same time, Governor Thomas E. Dewey came and 
went almost unnoticed. 

Not only the man on the street, but also the most powerful 
industrialists and financiers, who heard him speak at the Bond 
Club or the Economic Club, would be captivated by his words. 
His personality, his appearance, as well as his argumentation, 
gripped his hearers. Willkie was a big-framed and husky man. 
His hulking figure had a certain heaviness about it. There was 
noticeable an innate clumsiness in his movements. He almost 
lurched or lumbered about the room. This might be accounted 
for by his size and also perhaps by the fact that as a young man 
he had never learned to dance. His mannerisms, however, were 
wholly captivating. The forelock of hair falling over his fore- 
head gave him an earnest, informal appearance; the shining 
deep blue eyes frequently lighting up in a gay twinkle lent a 
softness and humor to his speech; and in a public speech the 
giant-spread arms always gave a dramatic evangelistic sort of 
entreaty to his words. Physically, Willkie was a commanding 
figure; he radiated power and magnetism. He could arouse 
great admiration in any gathering and his remarkable person- 
ality always dominated the room. A distinguished economist, 
C. Reinold Noyes, in describing a wedding which Willkie and 
his wife attended, remarked that more eyes were fastened on 
Willkie than on the bride, who was a well-known beauty. 

Yet with all his natural gifts of personality and mind, Willkie 
lost friends almost as rapidly as he made them. Without real- 
izing his discourtesy, he would wound and offend. Although he 
was extremely sensitive himself, he had a sort of blind spot 
about the feelings of others. No one was ever close enough to 
him to censure him and at the same time retain his friendship. 
He once even warned his staff at the office of the Commonwealth 
and Southern Corporation that he did not want them to criti- 
cize his actions or his statements. When Harold Talbott at- 
tempted to point out some of the more flagrant mistakes in the 


campaign, Willkie savagely replied, "You cannot talk to me like 
that!" Probably the most sympathetic of all his friends, except 
Russell Davenport, to whom Willkie could do no wrong, was 
Sinclair Weeks. He came nearest of all to speaking frankly to 
him. On several occasions Weeks said, "You can dish it out, but 
you cannot take it!" Willkie was incredulous and repudiated 
the charge. He never realized that he was what the musical 
world calls a prima donna. 

Lack of small courtesies frequently chilled his friendships. 
He often came to Washington, even after the 1940 campaign. 
But never on these trips did he telephone Charles Halleck or 
invite him to luncheon, and only rarely did he get in touch 
with Joe Martin. Nor could he understand why he should ex- 
tend these courtesies to political associates. 

Another habit by which he forfeited the regard and even 
affection of his associates was his own lack of confidence in 
them. Too easily he discredited their sincerity and too fre- 
quently charged a "double cross." He was often moody, and at 
these times was oppressed by imaginary grievances. Always 
deeply concerned with his own problems, he scarcely ever 
stopped to remember that his friends also had troubles. The 
loyal support of his colleagues he accepted with rarely any 
show of appreciation, taking for granted their ever-ready co- 

Another curious contradiction was his simplicity and his 
arrogance. He liked to talk with people: humble and distin- 
guished, young and old, they always held interest for him. Even 
as a young man he had enjoyed meeting people. He had a 
real affection for humanity. It was easy for almost anyone to 
call at his office and see him. Even the manner of his transpor- 
tation was unassuming. No shining limousine conveyed him 
around New York. Each morning, from his apartment on upper 
Fifth Avenue, he took a subway train to reach the financial 
section in the old historic river area around Trinity Church. 
Occasionally, if the morning were bright, he would take the 
more leisurely way of driving down Fifth Avenue by taxicab. 
It was a matter of press comment, when he went to Brooklyn 
for his pre-convention campaign speech in June, 1940, that he 
traveled by subway. Crowded into these trains, hanging on to 


a strap, brushing shoulders with ordinary people, hearing their 
conversation he felt in contact with all America. 

On the other hand, Willkie had a strange belief in his 
destiny. This faith in his star gave him on occasions something 
of the feeling of an exalted being. Rules were made for the rank 
and file to follow, but big people must establish their own way 
of accomplishment. Thus he frequently maintained a cavalier 
contempt for precedents and routine procedure. When the ex- 
perts attempted to advise him regarding certain matters, he 
became irked. He intended to chart a new course in politics 
and in diplomacy. This gave rise to comments that he was stub- 
born, even "bull-headed." Some ascribed this trait to his Ger- 
man ancestry, some to his faulty early training, and others to 
his ego. 

This loftiness of view, this feeling of superior wisdom, how- 
ever, was not peculiar to Willkie. It is a common trait among 
men who achieve high distinction. It was reported that Alf Lan- 
don, whom the politicians considered a nice, simple little fellow 
from the plains of Kansas, became filled with self-importance 
five minutes after his nomination for the presidency in 1936. 
Even F.D.R., according to Raymond Moley, with all his attri- 
butes of greatness, gradually assumed an air of infallibility that 
at times was unbearable. Although Willkie never possessed the 
ridiculous self-righteousness of several contemporaries, he did 
profess oracular judgment. With this lofty sentiment went the 
corollary that those about him should act as aides assigned to 
do little personal errands for him. In the Wisconsin primary 
campaign, for example, Willkie was entertained at dinner by 
the Governor. As he was hurriedly leaving his hotel to go to the 
Executive Mansion, he remembered that flowers should be sent 
to Mrs. Goodland, the Governor's wife. Pressing a bill into the 
hand of a distinguished citizen, he directed him to "send roses." 

The contrast to this superior and all-wise attitude was his 
remarkable will to win. Ernest Weir once said that in all his 
life he never saw anyone so keen on winning. Some friends 
traced this determination to the days of his childhood. His 
mother kept parroting to her children that they must always 
succeed, for the greatest of all crimes was failure! This teaching 
was in his blood. It gave him a drive and a perseverance that 


reached almost the level of superhuman effort. Raoul de Roussy 
de Sales also recognized this trait: "Generally speaking, he seems 
to believe that a cause which he himself supports must finally 
triumph because he has faith in it as simple people have faith." 

This exceptional stress upon success carried with it the sub- 
conscious fear of failure. It produced a quirk in his emotional 
make-up akin to defeatism. This inner uncertainty was also 
noticed by his friends. As Frank Altschul watched Willkie, he 
surmised that there was an element of defeat in every success 
that he scored. Constantly Willkie did the odd things which 
would hurt himself. Some people attributed his throat trouble 
to this subconscious fear of failure. He never started on a 
political speaking tour but his throat began to hurt him and 
his voice to grow strained and raucous. Throat specialists in- 
sisted there was nothing wrong, nevertheless the discomfort 
persisted. It is true that he never learned how to use his voice 
in speaking to large crowds, and it is also true that he punished 
his voice by speaking frequently from the back end of the train 
or from an automobile. Yet other politicians go through the 
same grind without similar ill effect. Furthermore, he could 
have had the 1944 presidential nomination, but he lost it 
through sheer folly. 

Yet few men who have reached the top have been so modest 
of their success as was Willkie. He was fond of saying that 
success was largely a matter of good luck. All anyone could do, 
he said, was to be good in his job, so good as to attract attention. 
Whether one could achieve the pinnacle of success would de- 
pend "on the breaks one got." He might well have added that 
native wit and a strong, rugged physique were also helpful. 

Willkie was erratic, highly emotional, with many idiosyn- 
crasies. He never owned an automobile because he said that he 
liked to talk so much that he could not drive with safety. But 
even more strange was his habit of never carrying a watch. 
He always maintained that he really did not need a timepiece. 
Clocks were all over town, in almost every store window and 
on numerous street corners. In almost any way he looked, 
wherever he was, he could ascertain the time. One of his col- 
leagues from Commonwealth and Southern told an anecdote 
which describes a meeting with Willkie about six o'clock one 


evening in front of the Grand Central Station in New York 
on the 42nd Street side. After the perfunctory words of greet- 
ing, Willkie began to peer to the right and the left. Asked what 
he was looking for, Willkie replied that he was trying to see 
what time it was inasmuch as his porter had not yet come with 
his bags and he was taking a six o'clock train. With considerable 
amusement, the colleague looked at his own watch and re- 
marked it was then three minutes after the hour and that the 
porter was probably on the train waiting for him. Thereupon 
Willkie went loping off through the long passenger tunnel in 
the hope of catching a train that had already left the station. 

A curious characteristic of Willkie was his forgetfulness in 
small, simple matters. He could meet the same person half a 
dozen times. and never remember either the name or the face. 
He was always happy to meet new acquaintances, but he forgot 
them as soon as he passed on. Equally careless was he of hats, 
coats and even his briefcase with important papers, which were 
continually left in trains or taxicabs and later retrieved by his 
capable secretary. Forgetfulness often caused the deepest em- 
barrassment. One evening he had the duty of introducing an 
old friend and distinguished Senator to a vast audience in New 
York City, and forgot the name of the speaker. The occasion 
was a great East-West rally under the auspices of Pearl Buck 
at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It was the same night that Chiang 
Kai-shek met with Gandhi in India early in the Second World 
War. The Senator was Elbert D. Thomas (Utah). They had 
been friends since the time when both of them had worked for 
the nomination of Newton D. Baker. Both had been influenced 
by the same brand of internationalism. Both worshiped at the 
shrine of Thomas Jefferson. Yet Willkie's introduction of his old 
friend might better have been performed by the bright boy of 
the eighth grade in almost any public school in the United 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we now have the honor the pleasure 
of listening to the United States Senate the United States 
Senator from Oklahoma the Honorable Elmer Thomas." 

A recording was made of these speeches and sent around the 
world. Those in far-off places who heard a transcript of the 
broadcast were unaware of the fact that under the name of 


Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma they were listening to the voice 
of Elbert D. Thomas of Utah. 

On the other hand, his colleagues admired the power of 
concentration with which Willkie attacked problems. He would 
become so immersed in thought as he paced up and down his 
office that the entrance of his secretary or aide went unnoticed. 
On such occasions they had literally to shake him out of his 
trance in order to secure his attention. Frequently, Willkie 
would send for documents to be brought in from the files but, by 
the time they arrived, he was again so deep in thought as to be 
wholly unaware of their arrival or the person who brought 

Even in his reading, Willkie was a personality of contrasts. 
The student of his life would expect to find his reading to be 
largely in the field of economics, since he was the leader of the 
crusade for free enterprise. On the contrary, his reading was 
mostly history. Perhaps the one year that he taught history in the 
high school at Coffeyville, Kansas, confirmed his prejudice for 
this discipline. At all events his deep interest in history never 
wavered. The history of the Civil War period and of the Old 
South fascinated him. He also read extensively in English his- 
tory of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Internation- 
alist that he was from the end of the First World War to the 
day of his death, he devoured books on the League of Nations 
and American foreign policy. Contemporary books on eco- 
nomics, political theory, government and constitutional law 
were conspicuously absent from his book shelves. He once made 
a flattering reference in a public address to Capitalism, the 
Creator (1940) by Carl Snyder, a distinguished statistician and 
a member of the Federal Reserve Board of New York. Snyder 
had sent a copy of his book to Willkie. A powerful argument 
for free enterprise, the treatise was considered the best defense 
of capitalism ever offered by an American scholar. Willkie gave 
the book only a hurried and superficial glance, although his 
complimentary reference to it considerably boosted its sales. 

Willkie advised his son, Philip, to take his graduate work at 
Harvard University in history rather than economics. The 
young man was deeply interested in economics and had intended 
to pursue graduate studies in this field. "I have had enough of 


economists in Washington," Willkie said with a laugh. "I don't 
want to live with one at home/' 

His preference for history over economics gave another clue 
to his political philosophy. He believed the American people 
had the imagination and the stamina to reach unlimited goals 
of production with an ever-higher increase in living standards. 
The twentieth century had only touched the fringe of what 
might be. The frontier of the future, he so often said, would 
be in scientific development which would make a more glorious 
America than any progress of the past. He had an abiding faith 
in America. Because of this great faith the whole New Deal 
fabrication to him was a philosophy of defeatism born of fear. 
The bright promise of a free enterprise system he thought was 
beyond the scope of anything the New Deal could offer. 

Although, in the years of the social revolution, he was the 
sharpest critic and the most articulate opponent of the Roose- 
velt Government when the war clouds spread over Europe he 
was the first to call for national unity and to remind the people 
that Franklin Roosevelt was the President of the United States 
and "our Commander-in-Chief," It took no less courage for him 
to shift from being the most vigorous adversary of the White 
House to the spokesman for unity and loyalty than it had in 
1936 when businessmen were so stunned by the strategy of the 
New Dealers that few dared oppose even the most ridiculous 
features of the Roosevelt program. Certainly, the President 
would have faced a most difficult task in those dark days of 1940 
and 1941 if it had not been for the honesty and patriotism of 
Wendell Willkie calling for all-out support of all Administra- 
tion war measures. 

Willkie early discovered that his public life circumscribed his 
private affairs. By January, 1940, he determined to leave Com- 
monwealth and Southern Corporation, and became committed 
to a partnership in the distinguished law firm of Miller, Owen, 
Otis and Bailey. He had an understanding with them that he 
would not sever his connections with C&S until after the Phila- 
delphia Convention. If he won the nomination he would devote 
himself to the campaign. Otherwise, he would immediately be- 
come active in the firm. As he did secure the nomination his 


active partnership with Miller, Owen, Otis and Bailey was 
postponed for a little over a year. 

After his defeat for the presidency in 1940, Willkie received 
some two hundred offers of executive posts. One such offer was 
from his old friend, Juan Trippe, president of Pan American 
Airways. Trippe asked Willkie to join his company as a vice- 
president. But Willkie replied: "No, it would never do. It 
couldn't possibly work out. You are a one-man organization. 
You run the company. I am a one-man organization, too!" This 
incident recalls a story friends told of his boyhood, when he 
was a pupil in grammar school. The teacher asked each boy in 
the class to tell what he desired when he grew to manhood. 
Some did not know, some wanted money, some wanted happi- 
ness, but Willkie wanted "power"! As a star he could perform 
brilliantly, but he never learned team-play or group strategy. 
Many of his mistakes in politics could be attributed to this 

In many ways, Willkie had done exceedingly well with Com- 
monwealth and Southern Corporation. For the consumer he 
had decreased residential rates from five cents to three cents 
per kilowatt hour and increased service to farms and private 
homes from 600,000,000 kilowatt hours a year to 1,200,000,000. 
Sale of appliances jumped from five million dollars in 1933 
to nearly nineteen million in 1937. When he became president 
of C&S, the utility industry was caught in the backlog of the 
depression. While other companies were laying off men, Willkie 
engaged five hundred salesmen to increase the demand for 
electric power. To stimulate further the household use of power, 
he introduced the "objective rate," or the system, whereby a 
consumer using more than a certain amount of electricity per 
month would receive a reduced rate. By these devices, he placed 
the utility business upon a merchandising basis. 

Despite his success as president of C&S, Willkie had become 
restless. The man who had fought the New Deal to a standstill 
in the Tennessee Valley and who had won for his company a 
settlement of nearly $30,000,000 additional to the price orig- 
inally offeredand that from an angry and reluctant Govern- 
menthad lost interest in the routine management of the great 


corporation. Just running a billion-dollar corporation after all 
the years of excitement in the congressional hearings and in 
presidential politics now seemed insipid. He yearned for the 
drama and excitement of the courtroom. Moreover, Willkie was 
not primarily an executive. He was a public relations expert. 
His great talent was to dramatize a situation, and to develop 

It cannot be said that the directors of C&S were loath to see 
Willkie go. They had been yanked through seven years of 
turmoil and emotionalism. Sober and prosaic businessmen, they 
were eager to see C&S at last disappear from the headlines of 
the newspapers. They wanted to return to normalcy. Even the 
greatest admirer of Willkie in C&S would agree that as an 
executive, Justin Whiting was a more able officer. 

In April, 1941, Willkie concluded his public affairs and was 
ready actively to join the legal firm of Miller, Owen, Otis and 
Bailey. Harold J. Gallagher had been instrumental in the first 
place in bringing Willkie into the firm. As Jeffersonian Demo- 
crats, both Gallagher and Willkie had worked together in the 
1936 campaign for Landon. He had also been one of the ama- 
teurs who boomed Willkie's candidacy in 1940, and later was 
manager of his speaking tour. Willkie replaced Nathan L. 
Miller, who had been a great trial lawyer and a former governor 
of New York and now was retiring from active practice. Willkie, 
therefore, was to carry on the tradition of Miller as a trial 

Hardly had Willkie opened his desk in the new law firm 
reorganized as Willkie, Owen, Otis, Fair and Gallagher than 
he was retained for a sensational case. The isolationists had 
attacked the motion picture industry as showing pictures favor- 
able to aid to Britain. Finally, in the desperate attempt to re- 
verse public opinion, Senators Wheeler, Gerald P. Nye and 
Bennett Champ Clark secured an investigation of the industry 
by a subcommittee of the Committee on Interstate Commerce 
in the Senate. Willkie was retained to represent the producers 
at a reported fee of f 100,000. 

The proceedings were extremely bitter. Willkie was more 
than a match for the isolationists in the Senate, and successfully 


defended his client. When the subcommittee denied Willkie 
the right to cross-examine the witnesses who attacked the in- 
dustry, Willkie declared that Chairman Nye sought to "divide 
the American people into discordant racial and religious groups 
in order to disunite them over United States foreign policy." 
The country agreed with this assertion. Willkie's plea to Sen- 
ators to view the accused pictures before condemning the 
motives of the producers found approval in every state of the 
Union. Most Americans had already seen these films and heartily 
approved. The hearing quickly developed into a personal 
attack on Willkie. Within a few days, amidst the jeers of 
the internationalists, the investigation completely collapsed. 
Wheeler, Nye and Clark had lost more than they had gained 
by this clumsy maneuver. When a few months later came the 
sneak attack by the Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor, it seemed 
incredible to many that with America fighting for her life 
against the Axis the motion picture industry should have re- 
quired defense only a few months previously from the extraor- 
dinary charge that it was engaged in propaganda against the 
totalitarian forces of the Axis Powers. 

So well did he represent the industry that a short time later 
he was elected chairman of the board of Twentieth Century- 
Fox, while his firm was retained as special counsel. The retainer 
fee was estimated at $200,000 a year. As chairman, however, 
Willkie was not to perform any executive duties or be actively 
connected with the operation of the company. The lucrative 
assignment inspired Senator Rush D. Holt, of West Virginia, 
to quip that "the barefoot boy of Wall Street had become the 
glamour boy of Hollywood." 

It was his connection with Twentieth Century-Fox that led 
Willkie to urge the filming of the life story of Woodrow Wilson. 
He felt that the picture would be a great influence in devel- 
oping public opinion for a United Nations organization. The 
picture, which was released during the closing period of the 
war, pivoted around the war years of the great President who 
more than any other statesman was responsible for the creation 
of the League of Nations. Undoubtedly one of the greatest his- 
torical pictures ever produced, it renewed the faith of millions 


of voters in an international organization for promoting inter- 
national good will. Willkie's one venture in this great medium 
was a smash hit. 

The sensation of the motion picture hearings had hardly 
ceased when Willkie took part in another equally famous case. 
He had returned from his world flight only a few weeks earlier 
when his help was solicited to represent an alleged Communist, 
William Schneidennan by name, in his appeal before the 
Supreme Court. Two lower federal courts in California had 
rendered a decision revoking Schneiderman's citizenship. The 
appeal was to be heard by the high court in January, 1943. 
The announcement that Willkie was willing to defend this man 
was front-page news. While many persons at the time questioned 
the wisdom of such a defense, this was the period when Willkie 
thought he understood the Soviet Union. Still fresh in his mind 
was his friendly meeting with Stalin. Also it should be remem- 
bered that Willkie always had a softness towards distressed 

William Schneidennan had been brought to the United States 
at the age of three. In 1922, at the age of sixteen, he became a 
charter member of the Young Workers (Communist League) 
in Los Angeles and remained a member until 1930. In the 
meantime, he had become a member of a group later designated 
as the Communist Party of the United States. A member in good 
standing, he attended the Sixth World Congress of the Com- 
munist International, held in Moscow in the early fall of 1928. 
Upon his return to the United States he became the secretary 
of the Communist Party for the district of California, Arizona 
and Nevada. 

On the eighteenth of January, 1927, he filed a petition for 
American naturalization which was awarded to him some six 
months later by the United States District Court for the South- 
ern District of California. According to the Naturalization Act 
passed by Congress in 1906, an applicant must behave during 
the five years preceding his petition for citizenship as a man 
attached to the principles of the Constitution. Had Schneider- 
man fulfilled this condition? 

In 1939, an officer of the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service of the Department of Labor, as a result of a routine 


check of the records, discovered the irregularity o Schneider- 
man's naturalization. He initiated proceedings for the revo- 
cation of Schneiderman's citizenship by filing an affidavit 
contending that Schneiderman's naturalization had been "fraud- 
ulently and illegally procured." According to law, the depart- 
ment had the duty of asking the courts to set aside and cancel 
certificates of citizenship on the ground of fraud or illegal pro- 
curement. The government case rested on the fact that at the 
time of naturalization and five years previously Schneiderman 
was a member of the Communist Party of the United States 
which was opposed to the principles of the Constitution and 
which advocated the overthrow of the Government by force and 

According to some authorities, Schneiderman's defense was 
naive. Although Schneiderman readily admitted that he had 
continuously subscribed to the philosophy and principles of 
Marxian socialism as manifested in the writings of Marx and 
Lenin, he denied that either he or his party advocated the over- 
throw of the Government of the United States by force or 
violence. He even considered membership in the Communist 
Party as wholly compatible with the obligations of American 
citizenship. He stated that he believed in the retention of per- 
sonal property for personal use, but had always advocated social 
ownership of the means of production and exchange, with 
compensation to the owners. In explanation of his use of the 
term, "dictatorship of the proletariat," he said he meant that 
the majority of the people should really direct their own des- 
tinies and use the instruments of the state for these truly demo- 
cratic ends. All of this, of course, was far short of the principles 
of Marx and Lenin whom Schneiderman professed to follow. 

In his defense before the Supreme Court in 1943, Willkie 
declared that this case was a vital one that might possibly affect 
every naturalized citizen. Although the petitioner admitted that 
he was a member of the Communist Party, Willkie stated that 
the individual liberty of an American citizen, and not the 
Communist Party, was on trial. He even went so far as to say 
that the real question was whether free institutions in this 
country were to be preserved by totalitarian methods or whether 
freedom of thought would remain as the basic foundation of 


the American way of life. He argued that until Congress defi- 
nitely declared the Communist Party to be a cause for denial of 
citizenship, no court should rule in other than a favorable 
manner upon a case involving such a fundamental right. 

Justice Frank Murphy read the majority decision, concurred 
in by Justices William O. Douglas, Wiley Rutledge, Hugo L. 
Black and Stanley F. Reed. Strange to record, Justice Murphy 
held that the "aim of the Communist Party in the United States 
in 1927, when Schneiderman was naturalized, was for a peaceful 
change of government at some indefinite time, rather than by 
sudden force or violence." Accordingly, the citizenship of 
Schneiderman was not revoked. The decision was a legal victory 
for Willkie. 

Although Willkie found a majority of the Supreme Court on 
his side of the case, a calm scrutiny of the controversy, from the 
vantage point of history, leaves the student amazed at the 
strained reasoning of both Willkie and the majority of the 

Chief Justice Stone read the dissenting opinion, concurred in 
by Justices Owen J. Roberts and Felix Frankfurter. The Chief 
Justice tore the argument of Justice Murphy into ribbons. The 
question, he held, was much more simple than it had been made 
to appear. It was whether the petitioner in securing his citizen- 
ship by naturalization had fulfilled a condition which Congress 
had imposed on every applicant. The issue was not concerned 
with freedom of thought or speech or even the present imminent 
danger to the United States. The issue was simply: Had the 
plain intent of Congress in the Naturalization Act been met by 
the petitioner for citizenship? 

The Chief Justice pointed to the evidence that the petitioner 
had attended the meeting of the Third International in 1928, 
and that he had been active in the Communist Party of the 
United States. There was abundant documentary evidence, he 
said, supporting the findings of the two lower courts that the 
Communist Party diligently circulated printed matter which 
advocated the overthrow of the American Government by force 
and violence, and that the petitioner had aided in the circulation 
and advocacy of such ideas. 

Although the Alien Registration Act of 1940 made it a penal 


offense against the United States to advocate knowingly the 
overthrow of the Government, or to help organize any group or 
society advocating violence, the Communist Party as such was 
not named. The Supreme Court in its decision of the Schneider- 
man case failed to declare whether or not the Communist Party 
was committed to the overthrow of the Government by force 
and violence. It dodged the logical issue of the case. 

Writers and teachers promptly pointed to the text of the reso- 
lutions passed by the Communist International in 1928 in which 
Schneiderman took part. It said that the Communist Party was 
the vanguard of the working classes based upon the revolution- 
ary theory of Marxism. "The Party personifies the unity of 
proletarian principles and proletarian revolutionary action. It 
is a revolutionary organization, bound by iron discipline and 
strict revolutionary rules of centralism." 

The program of the Communist International (1928) then 
explained how the Communist Party would fulfill its historic 
mission of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat. Com- 
munists must infiltrate in labor unions, co-operatives and cul- 
tural societies. After this had been accomplished and when the 
revolutionary tide was rising, when the ruling classes were dis- 
organized, when the masses were in a state of revolutionary 
ferment, then the Party of the Proletariat must lead the direct 
attack upon the bourgeois state. It was further stated that 
the Executive Committee of the Communist International 
(E.C.C.I.) makes the decisions which are then obligatory for all 
sections (national Communist parties) of the International and 
must be promptly carried out. Thus it was impossible for Schnei- 
derman to have sworn in good faith his adherence to the Ameri- 
can Constitution when he was also bound to carry out the de- 
cisions of the high command of the Communist International. 

As for Willkie, he had just returned from his world flight, and 
was full of brotherly love for all enemies of Hitler. He saw no 
contradiction between his position as the defender of free enter- 
prise and his position as defender of a man who sought to destroy 
the American system by methods as ruthless as those of the Nazi 

Within the year after his return from the Soviet Union, Will- 
kie had reason to doubt the friendliness of the Communist die- 


tator. He wrote a friendly article concerning Russia, published 
in the New York Times magazine section of January 2, 1944, 
entitled "Don't Stir Distrust of Russia." It was a warning to his 
Republican colleagues against adopting a policy of suspicion 
towards the USSR. He asked for simple American common 
sense and patience towards the Soviet Union. "We must recog- 
nize her for what she is: a mighty nation undertaking huge tasks 
and responsibilities in the modern worldthe world in which 
we also live." On the other hand, he said, there was real concern 
by the people of this country over the intentions of the USSR 
towards the political integrity of the -small states around her 
borders, such as Finland, Poland, the Baltic states and the Bal- 
kans. Herein was the most delicate problem facing the United 
States and the proposed United Nations. He ended: "There is 
only one way by which we can hope to gain acceptance of our 
ideas in Russian foreign policy, and that is to regard Russia as 
an equal with whom we desire to work and live. Our attitude 
towards her must be demonstrably the attitude of common sense 
and not of prejudice or passion." 

To this moderate and optimistic essay, the Kremlin launched 
a crude and vehement rebuke. Under the title of "Willkie Is 
Muddying the Waters," Pravda published an article by a political 
columnist, David Zaslavsky. He charged that Willkie's concern 
over the border states showed hostility to the Soviet Union. In 
curt language he said that the question of the Baltic republics 
was an internal affair of the USSR, which would shape its foreign 
policy without advice from the American. He called Willkie an 
"obedient trumpet" reproducing the suspicious cries of those 
reactionaries who were afraid of a victorious forward movement 
of the Red Army and the Allied armies. He labeled the Willkie 
article "an assemblage of words in which there is a rotten smell 
of familiar anti-Soviet slanders designed to cause mistrust 
towards the Soviet Union." The article, of course, like all 
material published in Pravda, the official organ of the Commu- 
nist Party in Russia, had the support of the dictator, Stalin. 

The vicious reply to the Willkie article came at a particularly 
unfortunate time inasmuch as Willkie had told Republican Con- 
gressmen only a few weeks before how well he understood the 
Russian situation and that he above all other Americans knew 


how to handle Stalin. The New York Times commented edi- 
torially that the fact Pravda had suddenly chosen to berate Will- 
kie for expressing opinions consistent with his own past views 
offered an inauspicious introduction to the rapidly approaching 
problem of a political settlement in eastern Europe. "The ques- 
tion from which none of us can escape is whether that settlement 
will be made by Russia unilaterally, on a basis of force, or within 
the framework of the United Nations." Edgar Ansel Mowrer, 
a famous syndicated news-writer, warned that the Pravda piece 
exposed the breakdown of Anglo-American diplomacy. In 
Newsweek, Ernest K. Lindley stated that by any test the attack 
by Pravda was a blunder, and all the more so in case Stalin had 
been sincere in the commitments made to the Allies at the 
conferences of Moscow and Teheran. 

Thus, the friendship between Willkie and Stalin snapped. 
Willkie refused to comment publicly on the sudden turn of 
events. But privately he began to wonder whether there had 
ever been any friendship between himself and Stalin. Were the 
conversations and toasts in the Kremlin between himself and the 
dictator just words deceitful words? He soon came to the con- 
clusion that Stalin's promises were as worthless as those of Hitler 
or of any other totalitarian dictator. Even more than this, Will- 
kie belatedly began to realize that the gulf between free America 
and the bureaucratic dictatorship of Soviet Russia was so great 
as to constitute a grave danger to the unity of One World. Mean- 
while, the President had continued faith in the Russian dictator. 
A faith that led to Yalta thirteen months later. 

The suspicions of the perfidy of Stalin came as a great shock to 
Willkie. His concept of One World rested on the belief that 
Soviet Russia was as eager for world co-operation as were the 
United States and Great Britain. Willkie was not so blind to 
reality as to assume that doctrines which are contradicted by 
facts should be assiduously maintained. One World was indeed, 
in Willkie's mind, a prerequisite for world peace. Its advent 
might not be as imminent as expected, but Willkie never lost 
his faith in its eventuality. 

The Russian phase of Willkie's career was as replete with 
contradictions as any other episode in his public life. Willkie 
had many sides. The man of ideas and imagination is often one 


of contrasts and contradictions. The true greatness of Willkie lay 
in the brilliance of his ideas and his unique talent for pub- 
licizing these ideas, as well as his courage in standing alone to 
defend them. Yet the contrasts and contradictions of his per- 
sonality annoyed his friends and plagued his enemies. 


The Wisconsin Primary 

ON A JUNE afternoon in 1942 several devoted friends arrived 
at the Fifth Avenue apartment of Wendell Willkie to keep an 
appointment. Conspicuous in the group were Frank Altschul 
and Alan Valentine. Still loyal to the defender of free enterprise, 
they believed that he should remain the standard-bearer of the 
Republican Party and be the presidential candidate in the elec- 
tion of 1944. The defeat of 1940 had alienated many party 
members, and embittered others. The faithful few who still 
rallied around the rejected candidate were not unaware of the 
obstacles in the way of his second nomination. Altschul and his 
friends were realists. To them it was axiomatic that Willkie 
must re-establish himself in political circles before the country 
would accept his candidacy in the presidential election of 1944. 
Only by election to public office could he erase the memory of 
the failure of 1940. 

Hence these friends now gathered in his apartment to urge 
upon Willkie the need to enter the gubernatorial race in New 
York. It was a race that he could easily win. The governor's chair 
in New York would then be the springboard for the 1944 cam- 
paign. Not only would such a victory reinstate him politically, 
but it would give him most of the votes in the New York dele- 
gation at the 1944 Nominating Convention. 



Ruefully the little delegation waited a long hour despite the 
hint from Edith Willkie that she was not expecting her husband 
to come home early. They were going out to dinner, she said, 
and Wendell would rush home only in time to dress before 
leaving for their engagement. Chagrined and disheartened, the 
group of friends finally took their departure. Willkie had not 
come nor did he later make the apology demanded by the occa- 
sion. On the following morning each friend received a telephone 
call from Willkie's secretary explaining there must have been 
some confusion as to the time. The secretary, however, sug- 
gested no future appointment. 

Chilled by the indifference of the great man, the loyal little 
group abandoned their plans to promote his political fortunes. 
His imagination had failed to encompass the strategy offered by 
the governorship of New York. Two Roosevelts and a Cleveland 
had successfully used this office as the stepping-stone to the 
presidency, and Thomas Dewey clearly recognized its advantage. 

Despite Willkie's lack of interest in the gubernatorial nom- 
ination, rumors persisted that he would accept the nomination. 
Efforts continued in his behalf by well-meaning friends and 
acquaintances. Among the most notable of these Willkie boom- 
movements was the one started by Stanley M. Rinehart, the 
publisher. All these efforts were finally halted in July when 
Willkie publicly announced that he would not be a candidate 
for the governorship. Political forecasters agreed that he could 
have been elected.. His popularity was attested by the Gallup 
poll of June twentieth which gave Willkie fifty-four per cent of 
popular approval as compared to forty-eight per cent for Dewey. 
Some newspapers, in fact, were so persistent that they proposed 
Willkie should be run as a nonpartisan candidate. This Willkie 
himself repudiated at once by stressing the need for opposition 

Willkie's withdrawal from the field left the state contest to 
Dewey. Although experienced politicians recognized that this 
placed Dewey in a superior position of strategy for the presiden- 
tial nomination, Willkie believed that he had neatly shelved 
Dewey for the next four years. Ever since Willkie had entered 
politics, he had his eyes so focused on the White House that he 
steadfastly refused to consider any lesser post. Meanwhile, as 


the New York gubernatorial campaign got under way, Willkie 
was making preparation for his famous world flight. 

In the early spring of 1943, John D. M. Hamilton wrote to 
Sinclair Weeks in reply to questions he had raised on the 1944 
presidential nomination. Hamilton stated that he would sup- 
port Willkie again as he believed the standard-bearer had 
mended his ways since the impetuous days of 1940. Furthermore, 
Hamilton stated that he had been impressed with the recent 
writings of the former candidate. It was thus clear that the great 
strategist of the Republican Party was ready to forgive and 
forget the past mistakes of the audacious Willkie. 

Meanwhile Willkie had finally realized that it took an ex- 
perienced politician to win national elections. Belatedly, he 
recognized that Hamilton was the greatest national chairman 
of the Republican Party since the days of Mark Hanna. Ironi- 
cally, Willkie now asked Hamilton to be his campaign manager. 
Hamilton was seriously considering this proposal when Willkie 
committed a series of blunders which for all time alienated him. 

In August, Willkie visited his farms in Rushville. While in 
Indiana, he delivered a speech in Indianapolis casting slurs upon 
the National Republican Committee. Attacking colleagues of 
his own party had been the cause of much dissension in 1940. 
Hamilton was troubled when he heard of this new outburst. He 
was further annoyed when he learned that Willkie had been 
inviting groups of Republican leaders to come to Rushville for 
conferences. These exclusive meetings of selected members of 
the party aroused old suspicions and jealousies. Hence Hamilton 
reluctantly concluded that Willkie was the same unruly man he 
had known in the campaign of 1940, and would prove again 
his inadequacy as a presidential candidate. But Hamilton re- 
frained from any statement of criticism. 

Nevertheless, the position of the party on foreign and domes- 
tic issues moved definitely in line with Willkie's own views. 
Some political forecasters even predicted there would now be 
greater harmony within the party and a more ready acceptance 
of Willkie's leadership. Harrison E. Spangler, the new chairman 
of the party, called a meeting of the Republican Post-War 
Advisory Council to convene at Mackinac Island early in 


The Advisory Council organized by Deneen Watson, of Chi- 
cago, at the beginning of summer, to formulate a party program 
on foreign and domestic issues in the post-war period, was a 
magnificent effort to support Willkie and to liberalize the Re- 
publican Party. The Mackinac meeting proved to be far more 
spectacular than anyone had thought possible. It elicited favor- 
able editorial comments throughout the country. In attendance 
were forty-three party leaders, including Senators Arthur H. 
Vandenberg, Robert A. Taf t, Warren R. Austin, Representatives 
Joseph W. Martin, Everett M. Dirksen, and Charles Halleck, 
and eighteen of the twenty-four Republican governors. Con- 
spicuously not invited were Wendell Willkie, Herbert Hoover 
and Alf Landon. 

The exclusion of Willkie from the Mackinac Conference was 
deliberate. His outspoken advocacy of international co-operation 
had made him the most provocative influence in the party since 
the time of Theodore Roosevelt. Had he led the party away from 
its old position of isolation? If so, then there was need for a 
more positive expression of the new policy of the Grand Old 
Party than the resolution accepted by the Republican National 
Committee in the preceding year. Another vigorous contest over 
this policy was expected. Thus, the party leaders reckoned that 
the exclusion of both Willkie and Hoover would promote 
harmony within the party. 

The exclusion of Willkie gave Tom Dewey an opportunity 
long desired. Although he had done precious little to turn public 
opinion to internationalism, he was fully prepared to take any 
advantage of Willkie's great achievement in this field. It had 
been expected that the Willkie forces would do battle for for- 
eign co-operation. But no one expected the conservative Gov- 
ernor of New York suddenly to take the lead in the issue. It was 
therefore a matter of some surprise that at the outset of the 
conference Governor Dewey declared himself for international- 
ism. His position was at once contested by Senator Taft, who 
stood by his previous views against any British-American mili- 
tary alliance. 

A remarkable feature of the Mackinac Conference was the fact 
that the governors seized the initiative at the very start and 
maintained it througout the two-day session. The governors, 


now led by Dewey, supported the Willkie program and won the 
victory for world co-operation. The resulting declaration stated: 
The United States must aid in restoring order and decent living 
in a distressed world; and America must do its share in a pro- 
gram for permanent peace among nations. In addition the dec- 
laration dealt with domestic problems pertaining to employ- 
ment, liberty, and a return to free enterprise. It was indeed a 
Willkie platform. By this declaration, the Republican Party 
committed itself to collective security through a world organi- 

Deneen Watson was jubilant. In praise of the Mackinac dec- 
laration he said: "We highly commend the members of the 
Republican Post-War Advisory Council for the statement of 
foreign policy. It is a splendid step forward." Willkie was also 
highly pleased, and a few days later in a speech at Los Angeles, 
he proudly declared that the Republican Party was "drifting 
rapidly to the viewpoint I have long been advocating/' Time 
called the Mackinac declaration the greatest tactical advance 
politically made by the Republican Party in years. Clearly, the 
party had now forsaken its position of isolation. It was now twice 
committed to the new program of its standard-bearer, first in the 
resolution of the National Republican Committee passed unani- 
mously in April, 1942, and second in this declaration. 

Up to this point the political situation looked especially favor- 
able for Willkie. A large and important segment of the party 
had finally approved his policies. It was a victory for his cou- 
rageous leadership, and he could justly rejoice in this remark- 
able success. 

Willkie had long delayed formal announcement of his plans 
for the campaign of 1944. A few weeks after the Mackinac dec- 
laration, he presented his candidacy in a strange and dramatic 
fashion. The entire issue of Look was devoted to his pictures 
and campaign statements, which announced that he would be 
a candidate if the party committed itself to liberal objectives. 
These objectives included protection for minorities, efficient 
management in the federal Government, maintenance of the 
free enterprise system, social insurance, all-out effort to win the 
war, and international co-operation in the post-war world. The 
-statement interested the press mainly for its restatement of his 


thesis on private enterprise. He asked for "a rebirth of enter- 
prise." It must be a genuine not a fake enterprise. America must 
have competition, invention, expansion, lower rates for the con- 
sumer, and lower prices of manufactured goods, he declared. 
Only thus could the American people create more opportunities, 
raise the standard of living, and most important of all, maintain 
real jobs for all workers. 

Although this was not a formal declaration that he would run, 
there was no longer any doubt as to his intentions. As the New 
York Times said, "he is in the field with everything but a formal 
announcement." The unregenerated conservatives were visibly 
unhappy. But Willkie was oblivious of their dissent. He ex- 
pected to find compensating support in public opinion. 

In late September, he went to the West Coast, partly on a 
business trip as chairman of the Twentieth Century-Fox Film 
Corporation and partly to go over the script of his movie, One 
World, which his company was going to produce. But mostly 
the western journey was a political scouting trip. The excursion 
was replete with political blunders. If he had seemed unwise in 
his party conclaves earlier at Rushville and too outspoken 
against party chiefs, it was only a prelude to what was to follow. 
In Los Angeles, Willkie boldly declared to newsmen that he 
would receive on the first ballot in the Republican Convention 
400 votes out of the total of 1,058. This meant that Willkie ex- 
pected to enter the convention of 1944 lacking only 129 votes of 
the nomination. But he went even further. He actually listed 
the expected votes of the various state delegations in the conven- 
tion. Across the country, in Philadelphia, John Hamilton read 
with astonishment these rash statements in the press. 

Already irritated over the Indianapolis speech and the little 
cliques summoned to Rushville, Hamilton concluded that the 
Los Angeles declaration was sheer dishonesty. No state could 
have committed delegates so far in advance of the convention. 
To Hamilton, Willkie now took the guise of an impostor within 
the party, one wholly without understanding of party rules, 
principles and fair play. 

Hamilton decided upon action. He promptly arranged for a 
tour across the country to consult with local politicians. Without 
fanfare or publicity he left for the Middle West in the latter part 


of October. To each local group he asked the same question: 
Had they pledged their delegation to Willkie? Upon the invari- 
able denial, he produced a copy of the newspaper with the 
Willkie release which claimed specified delegates. Indignation 
flared. So quietly did Hamilton go about his work that it was 
not until he reached Oregon that the press learned of his mission. 

The secret of Hamilton's tour was finally divulged through 
a young Republican who, although pledged to secrecy, dis- 
closed the story to a New York Times correspondent. The news- 
paperman hastened to telephone his scoop to his editor in New 
York. The account appeared in the issue of November fifth, and 
reported that Hamilton was touring the country to build a slate 
of favorite sons to block the nominating of Willkie. Like all 
public men confronted with an unauthorized story, Hamilton 
promptly denied it. 

Henry Luce, long a staunch supporter of Willkie, hastened 
to make use of the information and exploited the story in the 
issues of Life and Time for November fifteenth. He stigmatized 
Hamilton as the field manager of the "stop-Willkie-forces," and 
the "ambassador of Joseph N. Pew and Edgar M. Queeny." 
The Republicans in the hinterland loved Hamilton and be- 
lieved in his sincerity and honesty. In fact, few who have known 
him ever doubted his loyalty or integrity. On the other hand, 
many party leaders had been alienated by the coolness of the 
candidate himself. Thus, Hamilton in his tour of seventeen 
states discovered there was a widespread indifference to Willkie 
which only needed to be crystallized. 

Following the exposure by Henry Luce of the political motive 
of his trip, Hamilton gave a prepared statement to the press in 
Los Angeles concerning the Willkie claim as to the number of 
his pledged delegates. According to the statement, anyone who 
read the polls must know that no man up to this time had cap- 
tured the public imagination to the extent of one third of the 
vote. In view of this situation it might not be out of place to 
note that the public agreed with Mr. Willkie's often repeated 
phrase of the past campaign: "There is no one indispensable 

The skillful attacks upon Hamilton, however, led him to con- 
sider that his campaign was finished. He had carefully kept his 


cross-country jaunt out of the press until it had broken in the 
New York Times. To his amazement, the response to the unex- 
pected publicity was a deluge of letters and telegrams. Only then 
did he fully realize that the local politicians had turned against 
Willkie and that he had merely voiced the seething undercur- 
rent of dissatisfaction. The fight between the organization men 
and Willkie was now out in the open. The breach was irrepara- 

On his return to the East, Willkie stopped at St. Louis to make 
a futile address which was supposed to be the opening of his 
campaign. The National Committeeman of Missouri was Edgar 
Queeny, wealthy industrialist. Although he had been an enthusi- 
astic supporter of Willkie in 1940 and had raised $96,000 for the 
campaign, he now was bitterly alienated. He had prepared a 
questionnaire of nine points to force a public declaration by the 
candidate. One of Queeny's questions was so put as to force 
Willkie to dissociate himself from various liberal fellow direc- 
tors of Freedom House in New York. (Freedom House had been 
organized in October, 1941, to fight against Fascist tendencies 
at home, and to promote "international economic and political 
co-operation to assure peace.") Willkie refused to answer any of 
the questions, and wrote Queeny in defense of his position: "I 
do not happen to know all the multitude of opinions on a va- 
riety of subjects of the various directors of Freedom House 
whose opinions you cite as determinative of mine." If such a 
policy of condemnation by "frail association" were pursued, 
he continued, a case could be made to link him with the philos- 
ophy of Norman Thomas. Both were directors of Town Hall. 
The defection of Queeny and other Republicans in Missouri 
had been the determining factor in bringing Willkie to St. 
Louis. He wanted, if possible, to heal the breach, or at least to 
soften the opposition. Failing in this there was the third alterna- 
tive of winning public opinion through an evening address so 
that the party leaders would feel compelled to go along with 
him regardless of their own inclination. 

The New York Times reported the Missouri situation as fol- 
lows: "The very men who, according to local observers, tried 
to put Mr. Willkie 'on the spot* a month ago with a series of 
questions, and thus provoke his visit to St. Louis, were today 


edging into the limelight for tomorrow night's meeting. Fur- 
thermore, they were arranging for various side meetings tonight 
and tomorrow at which Mr. Willkie would meet other leaders 
and workers in the party." 

One such meeting was a luncheon. Recognizing the coolness 
between Willkie and Queeny, the reception committee did not 
invite Queeny to the Willkie luncheon. Nevertheless, the Com- 
mitteeman demanded an invitation, which was accorded; in- 
deed, he was made master of ceremonies. 

When Willkie was told of the arrangement he was displeased, 
but reluctantly agreed to carry through with the plans. As the 
cameras clicked he shook hands with Queeny and tried to be his 
charming self. But the possibility of good feeling was quickly 
dissipated when Queeny began his introductory remarks, which 
concerned the mistakes of the distinguished guest of honor. 
Willkie became visibly more and more angry. Finally he was 

All feeling of good will and friendship had vanished. Angrily 
and bluntly he exclaimed: "I don't know whether you're going 
to support me or not, and I don't give a damn. You're a bunch 
of political liabilities anyway." The newspapers carried the 
punch line without telling the story behind it. Opposition of 
Republican politicians was hardening across the nation. Yet 
Willkie seemed hardly aware of the danger and significance of 
what was happening. 

In the evening Willkie spoke to an audience of 3,500 in the 
St. Louis municipal auditorium. To those who expected this 
speech to be a keynote for his campaign, it was a disappointment. 
Queeny listened to the speech by radio at his home. To re- 
porters he commented that Willkie would eventually get around 
to telling his countrymen what he really thought. This was a 
reference to the unanswered nine-point questionnaire. Yet the 
applause for the speech had been ample and Willkie could take 
some encouragement with him from the people of St. Louis. 

The national capital was the next stop. Here Willkie addressed 
the freshman Republicans known as the 78 Club. Although it 
was an off-the-record speech, it made several Republicans so 
angry that they talked. Time commented that Willkie had dem- 
onstrated how NOT to win friends. Within the first few min- 


utes of his speech he lost the sympathy even of his most ardent 
adherents. He was belligerent. He was arrogant. "Whether you 
like it or not," he said, "I am going to be nominated!" If the 
leaders of the party should turn against him, he announced, he 
would go over their heads directly to the people to win his 

There were those who said that in coming to this meeting, 
Willkie had walked into a lions' den. Certainly, he augmented 
the unpleasantness of the situation by charging some of them 
with a plot to ask him unpleasant questions. Naming Queeny as 
the instigator, he challenged them to "go ahead and ask me those 
questions." He looked straight at Louis E. Miller, Missouri 
Congressman, and paused. Miller, red-faced and embarrassed, 
jumped up and denied that he had been coached to ask anything. 
Then the speaker turned to Wat Arnold, also from Missouri, 
and said, "How about you, Mr. Arnold!" The uncomfortable 
Arnold admitted he had a prepared question to present. "Yes," 
retorted Willkie, "and I can name some others. One of those 
questions," he said with asperity, "is: Will I support whoever 
is nominated by the party if I do not win myself?" Glancing 
around the room dramatically, he replied to his own question: 
"My answer is of course not. I will not support anyone who in 
my opinion is not the right man to lead the Republican Party. 
I would not support Colonel McCormick of the Chicago 
Tribune or Representative Hamilton Fish." 

This procedure created a tense unhappy feeling. The Con- 
gressmen resented his arrogance. They deplored his overconfi- 
dence. But they resented most another part of his talk, express- 
ing ill-considered remarks about Russia and Stalin. No realist 
could deny, he said, that the Russian system had been effective. 
Therefore, he charged that the 1944 platform must be clear on 
American co-operation with Russia. Only in this way could the 
peace of the world be saved. Russia had been antagonized by 
the promise of a second front which had not yet been fulfilled. 
This blundering was due, he said, to the incompetence of Roose- 
velt and Churchill. He boasted he understood Stalin and would 
know better than Roosevelt how to deal with him. Both of them 
had come up the hard way, he said, and understood the tough- 


ness of the other. Each had buffeted his way to success. Each 
admired the strength and mettle of the other. 

Although a few of the audience remained to have the speaker 
autograph his book, One World, most of those present left has- 
tily. A columnist reported that there had been cocky candidates 
and supremely self-confident aspirants for the White House. But 
the cockiest, the most supremely self-assured that Washington 
had ever observed "through the eye of living man, was our re- 
cent visitor, Wendell Willkie." Instead of winning the warm 
support of party men in Congress he made more enemies and 
strengthened the gathering opposition to him. 

From Washington, Willkie turned west again for three days 
of speech-making in Wisconsin, and conferences with politi- 
cians. Wisconsin presented a confused and treacherous arena. 
Although the state had gone Democratic in 1940, there were 
679,206 votes for Willkie. A liberal tradition on domestic issues 
had been built up in Wisconsin, which Willkie hoped to attract. 
In 1910 Robert M. LaFollette led the insurgent movement 
composed of farmers, trade unionists, Socialists, American Fed- 
eration of Labor and liberal weeklies. He drafted a declaration 
of principles for a Progressive Republican League by which he 
hoped to liberalize the GOP. There was even some talk that 
LaFollette might lead the ticket of Progressives. But this group 
of recalcitrants was promptly captured by the more colorful 
Theodore Roosevelt. On the other hand, LaFollette was an iso- 
lationist and opposed military preparation of the United States 
in the short weeks which preceded the outbreak of hostilities. 
He organized an effective filibuster of eleven Senators in Feb- 
ruary, 1917, to oppose the President's request for the speedy 
enactment of a bill to arm merchant ships for self-protection 
against the German submarine menace. 

Philip and Robert, Jr., sons of this robust champion of reform, 
followed the isolationist trend of their father. On the eve of the 
Second World War, Philip was an active leader of the America 
First organization. Furthermore, the large German population 
of the state was opposed to a policy of internationalism. Al- 
though most of the German-Americans were anti-Hitler, many 
of them loyally opposed a war against their beloved fatherland. 


Then to be considered was the Chicago Tribune. Wisconsin 
was generally accounted to be "Tribune territory/' This paper 
was the leader of the isolationist sentiment in the Middle West. 
All these factors made Wisconsin a somewhat unattractive test- 
ing-ground, and provoked wide warnings and forebodings 
among the political strategists. 

Willkie was strongly supported by John E. Dickinson of West 
Bend, and Milton R. Polland of Milwaukee. Influential liberals 
of the party, they offered strong support for Willkie's candidacy. 
Dickinson was one of the most powerful men in Wisconsin poli- 
tics. He was chairman of his own Washington County party or- 
ganization and chairman of the all-county-chairmen in the state, 
and vice-chairman of the Voluntary Committee. In Wisconsin, 
the Voluntary Committee was more important than the state 
Central Committee. (Thomas E. Coleman was chairman of the 
Voluntary Committee as well as chairman of the state Central 

Polland had never run for office and engaged in politics for 
the first time in 1940. He was credited with the success of the 
unusual campaign of Carl Zeidler for mayor of Milwaukee over 
the incumbent of twenty-five years, Daniel Webster Hoan. 
Zeidler named Polland to his place at the Republican National 
Convention at Philadelphia. There Polland met Willkie and 
ever afterwards was his enthusiastic supporter. 

Curiously, these two men differed upon the advisability of 
Willkie's entering the Wisconsin primary. Dickinson urged this 
move and he had even gone East to see Willkie in the spring of 
1943. On the other hand Polland was fearful of the isolationists 
and the Germans in the state. He advised against it. Neverthe- 
less, he worked with earnest loyalty once Willkie had committed 
himself to the venture. 

On his tour of the politicians, Hamilton had visited Thomas 
Coleman at Madison, Wisconsin. Now on the eleventh of No- 
vember came Willkie to make friends and give impetus to the 
group promoting his candidacy. This was his only effort to win 
support in Wisconsin before he made his campaign in March 
for the primary election, although Dickinson had urged Willkie 
to return in February for further speeches and political consul- 


Willkie went first to the State Capitol. Dickinson, using all his 
influence to arrange a meeting with the aged Governor, had 
succeeded in securing a dinner invitation at the Executive Man- 
sion. The only other guests were Mr. and Mrs. Coleman. After 
dinner, Governor and Mrs. Goodland invited some twenty-five 
friends in to meet Willkie and listen to his informal discussion 
of politics. Willkie was always superb on such occasions, and 
this one proved no exception. He made a most favorable im- 
pression on everyone. They liked his personality and his skill 
in defending his faith. But it did not mean endorsement either 
from the Governor or from Mr. Coleman. The Governor had 
already committed himself to Harold Stassen and even invited 
him to file in the spring primaries. But the Governor stated 
publicly that he had been most favorably impressed with 
Wendell Willkie and would make him his second choice. 

From Madison, Willkie went to West Bend in appreciation of 
the loyal work of John Dickinson. He spoke at McLane High 
School the evening of November twelfth, which was the occasion 
for a political rally of the surrounding countryside. In this brief 
visit, also, he took time to receive a labor delegation. Represent- 
atives of the labor unions, AFL and CIO, wished to show friend- 
ship and courtesy to this visitor to West Bend. Arrangements 
were made for a short interview. They came with warm eager- 
ness to meet a man whom they believed in and admired. Rather 
abruptly, Willkie declared, "Of course, you know my views. I 
am for labor." They smiled affably and nodded their heads. 

"Ah yes, we have read your speeches on labor," they com- 

"Well, I must make it plain," continued Willkie. "If I am 
elected labor will have a hell of a lot of house-cleaning to do." 
The smile quickly faded from their faces. They rose stiffly and 
took somber leave. Without rhyme or reason, he had again 
offended. They had asked no commitments, no pledges. It was 
just a good-will visit. With that queer quirk for defeat which 
always seemed to bob up at inopportune moments, he had un- 
wittingly alienated them. 

On the drive to West Bend from Madison he had asked his 
companions what was the racial background of the people of 
this community. He was told they were German Catholics. In 


addressing these people, therefore, he played upon their com- 
mon German ancestry. Their forebears and his had come to 
America for freedom. But there was this difference, he said, he 
was trying to lift high that torch of liberty which had brought 
his grandparents to this land. But they were doing nothing 
about it. They were willing to sit back and watch the destruction 
of all these precious rights by the Nazi madman of Europe. 
Their love of the fatherland had outweighed their love of the 
land of the free! "I believe in fighting to preserve the liberty 
my ancestors came here to enjoy/' he shouted at them. It was a 
speech that naturally alienated Americans of German ancestry, 
whether isolationist or not. 

That night Willkie was the guest of Dickinson's business asso- 
ciate, Robert Rolfs. The following morning Dickinson joined 
his two friends for breakfast and later drove Willkie to Mil- 
waukee. During the breakfast talk Willkie eagerly sought dis- 
cussion on his political "prospects" in the state. Point-blank, 
Willkie asked if Coleman wasn't on his side. He said he had been 
very much impressed with the state chairman and pleased with 
his marked cordiality at the Governor's dinner. For a moment 
there was flat silence. Then Rolfs bluntly told him the truth! No, 
Coleman would not support him. Willkie, hurt and taken back, 
asked if Coleman had recently talked with Hamilton. Upon 
learning that he had, Willkie gave his interpretation of the 
Hamilton opposition. The stiffening opposition of the party all 
along the line was beginning to hurt deeply. Nevertheless, this 
did not deter him for a moment from the continuation of his 
campaign. He was very sure of his ability to carry the campaign 
directly to the people and thus force the political leaders to 
accept him. 

On the evening of the thirteenth Willkie addressed a selected 
dinner group at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. There were 
about one hundred and twenty-five guests. His speech was little 
short of a tirade. He told them that the old days of businessmen 
being indifferent to the public interest were gone. No enlight- 
ened businessman today believes in the nineteenth century 
adage of the "public be damned." Industrialists must now rec- 
ognize that they are no longer the owners of wealth, they are 
merely the custodians of wealth. 


The audience was chilled. Sensing this, Willkie lashed out at 
them. "Some of you are blind, you don't even see what I am 
driving at. I never read any New Deal textbooks to get my views. 
I learned them the hard way of business experience. I was presi- 
dent of Commonwealth and Southern where I had to meet the 
problem of the public interest and adjust to it." At the conclu- 
sion of his remarks scarcely ten of those present went to the 
speakers' table to congratulate him. 

Willkie returned to New York. His two months' tour was 
ended. He had seen numerous party leaders, made many 
speeches, and conferred with a number of special groups. On 
the whole he seemed encouraged with his political survey. He 
thought the rank and file of the people had given evidence 
of their support. But he had lost the party organization. 
Clearly, the professionals wanted no part of him. Of the 206 
Republicans in the House of Representatives only six were for 
Willkie as revealed in a poll taken on November 5. Eighty-nine 
were for Dewey, thirty for MacArthur and even Bricker, Taft 
and Saltonstall received more votes than did Willkie. 

On the seventeenth of November Willkie participated in an- 
other of the New York Herald Tribune forums. This time he 
shared the platform with Henry Wallace. Curiously, it was the 
first time these two men had met. For Wallace it was the only 
time he ever listened to a Willkie speech. He and the President 
had boasted that they did not consider it necessary to listen to 
any of the speeches of their opponent. Confident of success in 
1940, they never took the Willkie contest seriously. The size 
of his vote, therefore, must have been a shock to both of them. 
The picture of the two men on this occasion showed the mild 
contempt they had for one another. Willkie annoyed the photog- 
rapher because he refused to look at his companion. 

Meanwhile, another source of opposition developed. It was 
a sensational book published by C. Nelson Sparks, of Akron, 
entitled One Man, Wendell Willkie. The Boston Herald (De- 
cember 19, 1943) stated that Sparks was only a dummy, as the 
real writer of the malicious book was Gerald Novius, secretary 
to Senator Gerald P. Nye. The Herald stated the book was 
"based on brazen lies." It was smear politics at its worst, but it 
provided the opportunity for Senator Langer, North Dakota 


Republican, to introduce a resolution early in December asking 
for an investigation of "any irregularities" in the 1940 Republi- 
can Convention. Sparks had charged in his book that Willkie's 
nomination was financed and engineered by international bank- 
ing interests. Describing the charges as ridiculous, Willkie 
promptly informed his attackers he would be delighted to appear 
before the investigating committee at their convenience for 
cross-examination. Better judgment prevailed on the part of 
the other Senators and the proposed investigation was dropped. 
The incident is of little value except to show with what bitter- 
ness and to what length his enemies attacked him. 

Despite the lack of any enthusiastic support by party leaders, 
Willkie appeared blithely confident of his mesmeric powers. In 
a discussion with Raymond Moley he boasted of his popularity 
with the people, which would assure his nomination. Moley was 
skeptical. Willkie argued his point: "All I have to do to attract 
a crowd is to stop for a moment in front of any cigar store. I am 
immediately surrounded." To which the witty Moley replied, 
"So is a four-fingered man. But you get the nomination by dele- 
gates' votes, not curiosity-seekers. And where are you going 
to get those delegates?" As Moley hastened to point out, there 
were only fourteen states which held presidential primaries, 
and these were mostly in unfriendly territory or were dominated 
by favorite sons. 

The little group of friends who urged Willkie to try again 
for the nomination were Sinclair Weeks, John W. Hanes, who 
had led the Democrats-for-Willkie in 1940, and Ralph Cake, of 
Oregon. Cake was a banker from Portland who had recently 
become prominent in the Willkie fold. He was one of the men 
Willkie had invited to his "front-porch" conference at Rushville 
the preceding August. For the most part, the men who had been 
prominent in the 1940 campaign now opposed him. This 
created considerable anxiety as to financing the campaign, since 
the newcomers to his standard lacked both the experience and 
financial standing of his earlier supporters. 

The question of securing delegates to the convention was 
almost as pressing as that of securing funds for the campaign. 
Hanes sought commitments from his friends in North Carolina. 
Delegates to the National Convention in this state were chosen 


by state party convention. The situation looked promising until 
Willkie bravely reasserted his stand on Negro equality. That 
ended any chance of Willkie delegates from North Carolina. 

One of the fundamental rules of politics which Hamilton had 
tried to impress upon him was that appeal to group interests 
must be clear and sharp. If a candidate declares himself for 
Negro equality, then he must be prepared to sacrifice his cam- 
paign in the South: if he is going to give concrete support to 
Jewish rights then he must expect a loss of those groups who 
bitterly assail such minorities. A candidate, of course, need not 
declare himself on every minority question. But as soon as he 
makes a bold declaration for one minority group he is bound 
to lose another such group. By making such sharp cleavages in 
his appeal, however, a candidate may make some decided gains. 

Willkie never was quite able to comprehend the technique of 
this procedure. His equality speeches elicited an endorsement 
from Edgar G. Brown, national director of the Negro Council. 
Brown cited Willkie as having successfully interceded with the 
motion picture industry to portray the Negro's contribution to 
the war effort. Notwithstanding such brave support of the 
Negroes, Willkie made a tour of the South in late November. 
He told press men that he came a lot closet to representing the 
views of these Southern Democrats than the present Administra- 
tion did! 

If he had been logical, Willkie would have denounced certain 
states below the Mason-Dixon Line for their antiquated laws on 
labor, education and racial discrimination. Then he would have 
rallied all anti-Southern sentiment. But too frequently he tried 
to be all things to all men. He talked of the rights of the workers 
but expected big business to give him unqualified support, he 
attacked anti-semitism but believed that American First groups 
should rally to his standard. He maligned his party leaders but 
was bewildered by their formidable opposition to him. As a Re- 
publican he lashed the New Deal for its mistakes and follies yet 
expected Democrats to vote for him. 

Willkie further irritated many of his own party by his speech 
at the .New York Times Hall on February 2, 1944, when he ad- 
vocated a much larger tax bill than that recommended by the 
Administration. Congress had rejected the Roosevelt tax pro- 


gram of $10,600,000,000 as unrealistic. Thereupon Willkie pro- 
posed a tax levy of nearly double this sum. The New York Times 
commended his stand: "This is a decidedly unorthodox posi- 
tion ... in an election year. But Mr. Willkie's candor does him 
credit, and the broad grounds on which he proposes war taxes so 
heavy that they would actually lower materially the American 
standard of living are unassailable." Willkie's argument was 
that heavy taxation in wartime was the best possible insurance 
against post-war inflation. Furthermore, it would mean that in- 
dustry could start off after the war with a minimum handicap 
of a war-inherited debt. His high-tax proposal was another effort 
to save the American system of free enterprise by paying cur- 
rently so far as possible the war debt rather than putting a mort- 
gage on enterprise for future generations. "An economic blood- 
stream composed largely of debt will eventually starve all the 
cells in the body," he declared. He wanted to encourage the flow 
of venture capital into new business. He wanted proper rewards 
for individual enterprise. In place of a government-directed 
economy dominated by officeholders he preferred a "system 
operated by free men on their own initiative. A system that will 
unleash the energies of our citizens, that will give them a chance 
to get ahead, that will allow the establishment of new industries, 
that will raise the living standards of the people." Although 
economically sound, it lacked voting appeal. 

As the Willkie advisers surveyed the dismal prospects of con- 
vention votes, they decided he should test his strength in New 
Hampshire, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Oregon. Three of these 
primaries came early in March and April, and only Oregon as 
late as May. This group of states also was selected because it pro- 
vided a degree of sampling of sectional public opinion. 

The New Hampshire primary came the middle of March. The 
vote was split with six delegates for Willkie, two for Dewey and 
three uncommitted. This was a small triumph, but it was en- 
couraging. The real test was to be Wisconsin, the heart of 

Such political experts as Sam Pryor, John Hamilton and 
Frank Altschul advised Willkie not to risk his prestige in Wis- 
consin. They considered it political suicide. Even Sinclair 
Weeks, who had faithfully backed the venture, feared that the 


Chicago Tribune would make the odds too great. But Ralph 
Cake and John Hanes emphasized that there was little choice as 
to states and that the need of committed delegates was pressing. 
All agreed that California would have made a better testing- 
ground, for here Willkie was very popular. But the opposition of 
Governor Warren made this impracticable. Certainly Wisconsin 
offered him the challenge of a dramatic victory. If he could win 
there, the Middle West would be his. Moreover, Hanes had 
assured Willkie that Dewey would not enter the Wisconsin 
primary and in fact would not be a contender at all for the 1944 
presidential candidacy. So Willkie returned to Wisconsin on 
March 18 to begin his thirteen days' campaign. The die was cast. 

Now begins another chapter amazing for its confusion, in- 
trigue, inefficiency and stupid blundering. Under the best con- 
ditions, Willkie had little chance to win in such a state, but the 
kind of campaign that was waged made certain total defeat. 
Ralph Cake was campaign manager. Although a member of the 
National Committee, his bailiwick was Oregon, so that he knew 
little either of Wisconsin politics or of big-time strategy. 

Cake made several hurried trips to Wisconsin, but on each 
occasion he aroused more antagonism than he developed co- 
operation. Such clever men as Dickinson and Polland were 
ruthlessly shunted aside. Moreover, the campaign was handled 
largely from New York. There the decisions were made. Lemuel 
Jones, Willkie's publicity secretary, was the liaison man between 
the local headquarters and the New York office. Thus the local 
men who knew the peculiar situation existing in Wisconsin con- 
cerning the Germans and isolationism were denied a voice in the 
direction of affairs. No local organization was developed. The 
New York headquarters did not consider it necessary. Hence 
there was no effort to ring doorbells and talk directly to the 
voters. In New York it was decided to build the campaign en- 
tirely around Willkie as a personality, in the belief that his 
personal appearance would be sufficient to swing the vote. The 
Willkie glamour and the Willkie oratory on political issues were 
the pattern determined upon. Thus the traditional system of a 
political organization developing campaign techniques was re- 

Now a good organization "runs interference," as it were, for 


the candidate. It arranges for newsreel pictures of the candidate 
to be shown in the community where he is speaking, for the 
proper placing of billboards, the distribution of handbills, press 
releases, the printing and distribution of speeches, and a string 
of second speakers recruited among prominent local citizens. 
None of these things was attempted. No arrangement had even 
been made with any of the movie houses to show the Willkie 
newsreel pictures. Polland finally took it upon himself to get 
the theaters under management of Twentieth Century-Fox to 
show the films. But he had to appeal to the New York office over 
the head of the Wisconsin manager of the movie company to 
secure approval. This despite the fact that Willkie was chairman 
of the board. 

The New York headquarters made no effort to counter the 
strategy of the Stassen and Dewey forces. Literature vital to the 
campaign, written by experienced men in the field, was garbled 
and slashed by the "experts" in New York. Every man in New 
York who saw it changed the text to conform with his pet ideas. 
Each was anxious to protect his special kind of philosophy. If a 
radio speech were to be written by one man another would re- 
fuse to o.k. it because he had not written it. The one big ques- 
tion at headquarters seemed to be who could get the credit for 
what. Thus everyone opposed everybody else. The result was 
utter confusion. Polland characterized the ineptitude of the 
organization as a case of definite self-interest on the part of a 
lot of prima donnas. 

While the New York office made all decisions concerning the 
campaign, the local men were called upon to finance it. About 
$17,000 was spent, and all of it raised in Wisconsin except about 
$1,800 which came from the New York headquarters. When the 
campaign was over, unpaid bills amounted to $7,500 which 
Willkie and Polland personally split. Yet Polland had been 
denied any part in the making of important decisions and had 
to remain silent while the New York "experts" made blunder 
after blunder. On the other hand, the closing days of the cam- 
paign saw a lot of money used by the Dewey adherents. Reck- 
lessly they spent money for billboards, signs and publicity of all 

The confusion of the staff and its distance from the field re- 


suited in Willkie's carrying the campaign alone. As he went 
relentlessly from town to town, he became increasingly aware of 
the singleness of his fight and realized that his organization had 
failed to give him supporting assistance. Bravely he talked to 
the people of Wisconsin about aid to Russia, conscription, Lend- 
Lease, and other equally unpopular and dangerous issues. Said 
Polland: "Willkie was there all alone, his giant figure looming at 
meeting after meeting, throwing out his challenge to the future, 
speaking truths too advanced for the countryside, truths that 
later came to be adopted by the Republicans as self-evident." 
Willkie made twenty-five speeches in thirteen days. Under the 
strain and disappointment, his throat again gave him trouble, 
and he sought relief from a specialist. 

One of his greatest mistakes in the Wisconsin campaign was 
his sole emphasis upon principles and issues. He had affronted 
the organization men, the precinct captains, and the ward com- 
mitteemen. They supported Dewey. There was nothing in his 
campaign to attract those men back to his banner. The appeal 
to the voters was directed in channels to which they were either 
indifferent or vehemently opposed. Robert McCormick, owner 
of the Chicago Tribune, had read him out of the Republican 
Party on several occasions and again during the Wisconsin 
campaign. The Tribune is popular in Wisconsin. Willkie re- 
turned the honor in his Green Bay speech, and read McCormick 
out of the party. 

The speech at Ripon was built up as one of the important 
speeches because it was to commemorate the founding of the Re- 
publican Party there in 1854. But it was a gloomy disappoint- 
ment. Willkie was tired and his throat was painful. Although 
some insisted that the script was good, the speech as delivered 
was one of his poorest. Even his closest friends would not tell 
him how badly the speech was received. Added to his own 
fatigue and the confusion within his own ranks there was, as 
one observer summarized it, the ten thousand pinpricks of the 

The regular Republican organization not only gave no sup- 
port to Willkie but it attempted to defeat him by presenting 
phantom candidates in opposition. Harold Stassen was now a 
lieutenant commander stationed on a battleship in the Pacific, 


but his name was presented in the primary. General Douglas 
MacArthur was in Australia commanding the armed forces to 
stem the Japanese advance, yet his name was also presented to 
the voters. So was that of Governor Dewey, who did not even 
make a speech in the state, and constantly contended that he 
was not a candidate. As absentee candidates they were absolved 
from making any commitments on the stirring issues. Thus none 
of them was exposed to the devastating rigors of public opinion 
in Wisconsin. 

It was, however, the Stassen candidacy which hurt Willkie 
most deeply. Willkie felt that he had made Stassen politically by 
choosing him to be his floor manager at the Philadelphia Con- 
vention. With equal justification Stassen felt that he had made 
Willkie by winning the nomination for him at that time. To 
his friends Willkie referred to a luncheon that he and Stassen 
had shortly before the Minnesota Governor joined the Navy. 
Edith and Philip were also present. At this meeting politics was 
not discussed except that Stassen volunteered the information 
that he was going into the Navy and that he was instructing his 
friends to "support you." And he added that he would not be 
interested in politics until after the war. 

This conversation, apparently, never was repeated to Stassen's 
supporter, Senator Joseph Ball. Perhaps it was only a passing 
pleasantry which Stassen did not take seriously or feel bound by. 
In any event, when he left America for service in the Pacific he 
expected that Willkie would contend for votes in the far West, 
where he was known to have strong support. Stassen fully ex- 
pected his friends to enter his name in Wisconsin, where Gov- 
ernor Goodland had shown great friendliness, and also in 
Nebraska. Here in the Middle States, Stassen had his strongest 
support. But in Stassen's mind it did not make too much differ- 
ence because in the convention the votes of one would be 
thrown to the other depending upon which was the favorite 
among the delegates. 

Willkie did not look at it this way. To him Dewey was the 
real opponent. By this division of their strength, the New York 
Governor was being aided. Hence Willkie was bitter in his de- 
nunciation of an old friend. To him, Stassen had "double-crossed 
him/' Of course Stassen knew nothing of all this confusion. In 


afteryears he expressed regret that there had been this mis- 
understanding and said that it all could have been easily settled 
if he had been home. But the old friendship of the days of 1940 
was broken. 

The real break with Stassen had come earlier. When Willkie 
landed in Minneapolis on the return from his world flight, he 
met Stassen at the dinner party given by John Cowles. At this 
small party, Willkie was somewhat expansive in his views and 
talked a trifle pompously about world affairs. Stassen broke into 
the conversation to observe that there were other world-minded 
persons in the Republican Party. Always very sensitive, Willkie 
was hurt and resentful. A decided chill came into their associa- 
tion as a result. The two men sat in opposite camps at the meet- 
ing of the National Republican Committee meeting several 
weeks later in St. Louis, where they backed different candidates. 
But the great widening of the breach came when Stassen re- 
viewed One World for the New York Times, April 11, 1943. 
Stassen criticized Willkie for overemphasizing the wrongs of the 
British colonial system and underestimating the evils of com- 
munism. Thus by the time the Wisconsin primary campaign 
rolled around in March of 1944, Stassen and Willkie were 
leagues apart. 

The primary election was held on April 4. Underground 
politics had been noticeable all during the campaign. It was a 
clear "stop- Willkie" movement. But it became clearer on elec- 
tion day. Politicians stood at the legal distance from polling 
places and asked people not to vote for Willkie, regardless of 
whom else they might vote for. This tactic was considered 
highly successful, although it was obvious to all that the Willkie 
organization had bogged down long before. Yet none of his fol- 
lowers was prepared for the utter defeat the candidate suffered. 
When the votes were counted, Willkie received not one delegate. 
Of the twenty-four delegates chosen, Dewey won fifteen, plus 
two uninstructed delegates who were accredited to him. Stassen 
won four and MacArthur three. 

Willkie had concluded his barnstorming tour in Wisconsin 
the last of March, and had hastened to Nebraska to electioneer 
there for that primary held on April eleventh. Thus, he was in 
Nebraska when the crushing results of the Wisconsin primary 


were reported to him. To intimates he had declared that if he 
lost in Wisconsin he would withdraw from the contest. The 
next night (April 5) he was scheduled to deliver one of his major 
addresses at Omaha. The speech was a vigorous criticism of 
American foreign policy, before an audience of four thousand 
persons in the City Auditorium. At its conclusion the candidate 
made a dramatic withdrawal from the campaign. He said, "It 
has been my conviction that no Republican could be nominated 
for President unless he received at the convention the votes of 
some of the major midwestern states. For it is in this section of 
the country that the Republican Party has had its greatest re- 

Then he continued, "As I have said many times, this country 
desperately needs new leadership. ... I earnestly hope that the 
Republicans will nominate a candidate and write a platform 
which really represents the views which I have advocated and 
which I believe are shared by millions of Americans. I shall con- 
tinue to work for these principles and policies for which I have 
fought during the last five years.*' The following morning 
newspapers across the country carried the headline news: "Will- 
kie Quits Racel" 

The statement was clear and dignified. One could not gather 
from its lines anything of the surging emotion of the man. Of 
the four candidates who filed in Wisconsin, he was the only one 
to campaign and the only one to fail completely. He had spent 
himself as in no other campaign, so determined was he to make 
the people understand. No other candidate had the blind con- 
fidence that he did in the ability of the people to make a right 
decision. No other candidate so blithely ignored the rules of 
politics. He was the white knight leading the people onwards to 
the high peak of internationalism and good will to all nations. 
He must not fail. The dreams and hopes of a lifetime were all 
tied together in the Wisconsin campaign. Not because he wanted 
power for power's sake, but because he wished to lead the people 
into the land of promise. Hence lesser political positions held no 
appeal for him. He could have succeeded to the seat of Kenneth 
Simpson in the House, he could have been governor of New 
York, or he could have been senator from New York. But only 
the presidency could make him leader of the American people. 


From first to last he represented himself as heading a crusade. 
His ideas were bigger than politics, bigger than party and so 
enveloped the whole nation. That is why he was so sure that 
the people would support him regardless of party affiliation 
or political alignment. 

The Omaha statement represented more than a defeated can- 
didate. It blighted his hopes for the success of the crusade. Some 
say that Willkie was really looking to the campaign of 1948, but 
no man can remain in the public eye that long without a victory. 
Yet in defeat he found his full stature. 


The Great Advocate 

IMMEDIATELY AFTER his speech in Omaha, withdrawing 
himself from the presidential campaign, Willkie returned to 
New York City. Upon his arrival, he was entertained at a din- 
ner given by Malcolm Muir, chairman of the editorial board of 
Newsweek. Raymond Moley was present. Indeed, he had been 
urged by his host to draw Willkie out regarding the Wisconsin 

Hardly was the dinner served when Moley said: "What hap- 
pened to you in Wisconsin?" 

"The damn county committees were against me," Willkie re- 
plied somewhat irritably. 

Moley, in one of his flashing witticisms, observed that Willkie 
was like Enoch Arden. After long years of absence, he had come 
home to find that his sweetheart had married another man. The 
years in which Willkie had snubbed the politicians had not been 
forgotten by the recipients of the slights. Their revenge was 
swift, and deadly. 

"How could you blame them?" asked Moley dryly. 

Willkie became angry over this twitting, and plainly showed 
his bitter disappointment regarding the fiasco of the Wisconsin 
primary. The ribbing, even by old friends, was like pouring 
salt into the still-open wound. 



The comments that went round the dinner table indicated 
the general opinion of analysts concerning Willkie's political 
acumen. By temperament, Willkie was unsuited for party 
leadership. He offended associates too easily, he talked too often, 
and he shifted his political advisers too frequently. But most of 
all he shattered Hamilton's plan for the party organization. 
Many Republicans, who would have forgotten all else, felt 
resentment over this. 

Yet it was recognized that with all these limitations he rose to 
a unique position of leadership in the party. No defeated presi- 
dential candidate ever exerted such influence either upon his 
own party or upon national policies as did Wendell Willkie. 
History will record that he was the most dynamic, resourceful 
and powerful leader of a defeated party in American politics. 
He possessed a high sense of responsibility to the voters, which 
never became dimmed by party expediency, and he led an 
unwilling party to an understanding and acceptance of this high 
standard of public conduct. Before the coming of Willkie to 
party councils, the Republican Party had opposed the Man in 
the White House for the simple purpose of opposing. Willkie 
taught his party a technique more serviceable to the American 
people: oppose when the Administration is wrong but co-operate 
when it is right. 

Charging his party that it must constantly revise its platform 
to keep up with the changing times, he forced it reluctantly 
into line with public opinion. Amid the sharp assault of his 
opponents, he broke the grip of isolationism which had shackled 
the party. By his spectacular trip around the world in time of 
war, he dramatized internationalism in a way that had never 
been done before and which warmly stirred the hearts of his 
countrymen. His remarkable concept of the loyal opposition 
and the bipartisan foreign policy was brilliant statesmanship. 
At a distraught period of national emergency he saved critical 
war legislation: the Lend-Lease Act, the extension of the Selec- 
tive Service Act, the occupation of bases in Iceland, the convoy 
system, and the repeal of the Neutrality Act. He revitalized the 
thinking of the Republican Party after the discouragement of 
eight years out of office, and permanently impressed many of 
his ideas upon party policy. His stamina and faith and even 


rashness jolted stale party leaders into a fresh appraisal of the 
American scene. Despite his numerous fumbling mistakes of 
procedure and the antagonism he created among his colleagues, 
the real stature of Willkie was that he rose above it all to the 
sublime heights of unselfish devotion to the American people. 
In defeat he was greater than most men in victory. In defeat 
came his glorious opportunity of service to preserve a united 

The great contribution to party government made by Willkie 
was not unnoticed by the news commentators possessed of 
philosophic outlook. Walter Lippmann, with keen appreciation, 
wrote: "His part has been to save his country from an irrecon- 
cilable partisan division in the face of the most formidable 
enemies who were ever arrayed against all that America is and 
means. Historians will say ... that second only to the Battle of 
Britain, the sudden rise and nomination of Willkie was the 
decisive event, perhaps providential, which made it possible to 
rally the free world when it was almost conquered. Under any 
other leadership but his the Republican Party would in 1940 
have turned its back upon Great Britain, causing all who still 
resisted Hitler to feel that they were abandoned. 

"His rivals for the nomination at Philadelphia . . . [had] made 
the Republican the isolationist party, [which] would have made 
it almost impossible thereafter to reinforce our Allies by Lend- 
Lease and to gain the time we had to have to prepare for war." 

It was Lippmann who coined the happy phrase that Willkie 
was the "conscience of his party." Willkie had been able to hold 
in check the tendency of the party to drift into "Know-nothing- 
ism" and reactionary obstruction. Because of him, said this 
commentator, the Republican Party survived during those his- 
toric years of 1940-1944, and preserved its title and its eligibility 
to govern the American nation in the world as it now is. Except 
for Willkie, the nation would have become isolated and divided, 
and with the victory of Hitler, desperately hard pressed as the 
last surviving democracy in a conquered world. 

The magnitude of his success came from his unusual powers 
to win public approval of his cause. His strength in rallying his 
party to responsible politics was based on this unique ability to 


mobilize public opinion. One of the great advocates o all his- 
tory, he could dramatize an idea as few publicists have ever 
been able to do. This gave him power. The glamour which sur- 
rounded Willkie as a presidential candidate obscured his more 
notable contribution as a publicist in the period of 1935 to 1944. 
On the other hand, the influence of his talent as a great publicist 
was measurable by the millions of persons attracted to him 
through the political forum. Among his most famous writings 
was his article in 1940, "We the People." It created a furore of 
political thinking and examination. His speech on the "Loyal 
Opposition," published in the New York Times in November, 
1940, ranks as the most distinguished speech of creative political 
thinking ever given by a defeated candidate. With his press re- 
lease of January 13, 1941, pertaining to Lend-Lease, Willkie 
rose above partisan strife and attained the full measure of 
statesmanship. His Lincoln Day address was the turning-point 
in choking isolationism out of the Republican Party. One of the 
greatest pamphlets of the modern age was One World, which 
captivated the imagination of men everywhere. And shortly be- 
fore he died there was published "An American Program." 
There were many other excellent articles to awaken a national 
consciousness concerning affairs of state. The list is long, but 
notable were "With* Malice Toward None" in the Saturday 
Evening Post of December 30, 1939, "The Court Is Now His" 
in the same magazine of March 9, 1940, and "Patriotism or 
Politics" in the American Magazine of November, 1941. 

Willkie came to recognize his own ability as a publicist. In 
the last year of his life he considered the purchase of a news- 
paper. This would have served as a daily channel for the ex- 
pression of his views. Like most publishers, he looked upon a 
newspaper as a reflection of the opinions of its owner. 

In an interesting conversation with his old friend Sinclair 
Weeks, a few weeks before his death, he disclosed his weariness 
of the practice of law. "I can make money," he said, "but that 
is not what I want. I want something more than just a law busi- 
ness. Life is bigger than that." Weeks took this poignant con- 
fidence with a careless witticism. "You had better make up your 
mind, you have made a mess of your life so far!" Instantly, he 


regretted the flippant remark when he saw his companion wince. 
Willkie abruptly ended the soul-revealing discussion, while the 
two friends took refuge in a game of gin-rummy. 

All his life Willkie had been restless. No success had been 
satisfying. His law practice at Akron failed to give him the re- 
ward he yearned for. He tired of his career as president of 
Commonwealth and Southern Corporation after the big battle 
with the Government was ended. His connection with the law 
firm of Willkie, Owen, Otis, Fair and Gallagher did not yield 
him the contentment that he had expected. Inwardly, he had 
been striving for years, and in vain, for an adequate outlet for 
his ideas and beliefs. 

It was at this time that he toyed with the idea of becoming 
the president of some university. His name was discussed by the 
board of trustees of Columbia University. But at that time 
Nicholas Murray Butler was not prepared to retire. That was 
when his imagination was captivated by the possibility of own- 
ing and publishing a newspaper to spread his ideas. 

Two definite efforts were made to secure a newspaper. The 
first decision was to buy the Indianapolis Star. In the fall of 
1943, the death of John C. Shaffer, of Evanston, Illinois, the 
owner of the Star, caused this newspaper to be put on the 
market. A Hoosier, who knew Willkie moderately well, con- 
ceived the plan of buying the newspaper and offering its man- 
agement to Willkie, thus affording him an organ of opinion 
in the Middle West. This admirer was W. S. Woodfill, president 
of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Possessing some free 
time and free capital, he suggested that he would take a part 
interest in the venture, assuming a silent partnership while 
Willkie would remain untrammeled as managing editor. So 
much interested in the proposal was Willkie that he authorized 
Woodfill to investigate the possibilities, but to keep his name 
out of the public announcement for the present. Meanwhile, 
Willkie called upon his old friend and associate of former days, 
Arthur C. Watt, to pursue an investigation on his own regarding 
the Indianapolis Star. He also asked Watt to prepare for him 
a statement on the features which make a newspaper "good or 

By the time Woodfill had carried out the necessary inquiry 


with the necessary caution regarding the Star, it had been sold. 
The purchase was made on April 27, 1944. Strangely enough, 
on the following day, Frank Knox, the public-minded editor of 
the Chicago Daily News, suddenly died. Woodfill anticipated 
that this distinguished newspaper would sooner or later be sold* 
Accordingly, he wrote Willkie of the possibility and received in 
reply a most enthusiastic expression of interest. Woodfill re- 
tained a lawyer to undertake the ensuing negotiations. 

The trustees of the Knox Estate were more interested in se- 
curing a man with the same staunch views as Colonel Knox 
than in a few extra dollars per share. When they learned con- 
fidentially that Willkie was interested in the paper and that he 
would move to Chicago and personally take over the manage- 
ment of it, they made a price of $12 per share, which amounted 
to a total of $1,750,000. Woodfill was to contribute $250,000 of 
this sum, and Willkie the balance. Further, the trustees agreed 
not to discuss the sale with anyone else until Willkie had an 
opportunity of coming to Chicago. A date was arranged for July, 
which had to be postponed until September. 

Immediately after Labor Day in 1944, however, Willkie was 
taken to a hospital. Accordingly, the negotiations were abruptly 
broken off. The Knox stock was sold very soon thereafter for 
$15 a share to John S. Knight, of Akron, Ohio. So ended in 
futility the dream which would have taken Willkie to the end 
of destiny. His whole life had been spent striving and searching 
for the right endeavor. He had once thought it was politics. But 
actually he was born to be an evangelist carrying on a crusade. 
That is the very essence of a publicist. A politician must build 
an organizational structure, founded on compromise and coali- 
tions. The publicist, like Tom Paine or John Milton, spreads 
ideas. He is more concerned with getting the people to under- 
stand and believe in these ideas than he is in being elected to 

Meanwhile, Willkie had not stood still. Editors of magazines 
and newspapers were eager to publish articles and statements 
from his pen. After the Wisconsin primary and his subsequent 
withdrawal from the campaign of 1944, six Republican news- 
papers asked him to write a series of seven articles pertaining to 
the issues due to come before the Platform Committee of the 


1944 Republican National Convention. So important were these 
articles that the New York Times, an independent Democratic 
newspaper, secured a release from the associated Republican 
newspapers so that it might also publish them. The seven arti- 
cles, appearing in early June, were later published as a pamphlet 
called "An American Program." 

The articles became the capstone of his success as a publicist. 
He warned his party that the theory of states' rights was out- 
worn. The United States, he said, cannot be divided into forty- 
eight separate economic units. We cannot have forty-eight mini- 
mum wage laws. The question of states versus the national 
Government has ceased to be an issue; it is a relic of history. He 
cautioned the Republicans to refrain from abandoning their 
traditional platform by an attempt to weaken the federal unit. 
"The issue today is not that of states' rights versus federal 
power." The solution lies not in a weakened central govern- 
ment but in the proper and wise use of federal power. 

He warned his party not to be blind to minority problems. 
The Republican Party traditionally was committed to human 
freedom. Under Republican leadership, the Negro was con- 
stitutionally guaranteed the same rights as every other citizen 
in the United States. "One of these basic rights is the right to 
vote. Another is the right to live free of the haunting fear and 
the too-frequent actuality of mob violence/' he said. "The Re- 
publican Party in its platform and in the declarations of its 
candidates should commit itself unequivocally and specifically 
to federal anti-poll tax and anti-lynching statutes." He pointed 
to the bitter humiliation the Negro people had suffered during 
the war, when they were excluded from certain branches of the 
armed forces and relegated to menial jobs in others. To be 
consistent with the historical platform of the party, the Repub- 
licans should assume the responsibility to secure for the Negro 
the rights to which he is entitled. This, he said, would be a test 
"of our sincerity and of our moral leadership in the eyes of 
hundreds of millions all over the world." 

He warned his party not to reject social security. All members 
of society, he said, should be protected against economic disasters 
sweeping away the bare necessities of life. It is fictitious to think 
of the alternatives of security or initiative, protection or ad- 


venture. We need both. We cannot have the initiative and 
energy we need for an expanding economy without preserving 
and increasing the vigor of our human resources. Coverage is 
still incomplete and eligibility rules are complicated. Social 
security laws, he said, should include old-age benefits, federal 
unemployment insurance, a strengthened federal employment 
agency, disability insurance, maternity benefits, social insur- 
ance for the armed forces, agricultural workers and the self- 
employed, and medical care for all. Need knows no rules of 
eligibility or coverage. The Republican Party, he declared, 
should assume the leadership of such an extended program of 
social security. 

He warned his party against economic regression. "We are 
not going to return to anything," he said. The pressure of state- 
controlled economies in all countries with which the United 
States must trade would inevitably affect our own society. "De- 
spite the pressure from without and the demands from within, 
we have an opportunity for a different answer." He proposed 
that industry, labor and government local, state, federal- 
should set up a co-operative mechanism which would act as a 
clearing house for information and constructive programs. The 
value of such a procedure would be, he said, that public works 
could be spread levelly over the years. "But we must be realistic 
enough to acknowledge that the best efforts of private industry, 
even supplemented by such intelligent co-operation, will not 
always be enough. In addition the federal Government must 
exercise a counter-cyclical influence against depression in order 
to preserve a reasonably high level of employment." As some 
of the necessary measures to this end, he listed: direction of the 
capital market to encourage a flow of new capital when depres- 
sion threatens and to discourage it in the face of a boom; the 
undertaking of legitimate government projects at government 
expense, but by private contract, the moment depression sets 
inprojects that would improve the health and welfare of the 
people, create new markets, new purchasing power. He pointed 
out, however, that if industry was to develop to its fullest pos- 
sibilities, it must have certain releases and certain safeguards. 
Capital was necessary risk capital that would be ready to take 
a chance on the future. He advocated a drastic revision of the 


tax laws to encourage risk capital for new investment and new 
ventures. "The Republican Party cannot meet the need of the 
post-war period by merely passing resolutions in favor of 'free 
enterprise/ It must realize the inevitability and the justness of 
the people's demand for both protection and opportunity, and 
it must find the answers, answers which exist uniquely within 
a responsible enterprise system." 

He warned his party against a narrow view of labor's prob- 
lems. He said that there was nothing inherent in the nature of 
the two parties which justified the roles propagandists had 
sought to assign them. "Men more zealous than wise are trying* 
to label the Democratic Party the exclusive friend of labor, and 
the Republican Party its inveterate enemy." Declaring that a 
1944 Republican platform should acknowledge the necessary 
requirements for the protection of labor under conditions ex- 
istent today not yesterday he proposed the continuance and 
improvement of a federal wage and hour law and federal regu- 
latory machinery for its interpretation and enforcement. He 
also advocated as fair and necessary an annual wage for workers 
in plants with periodic shutdowns. But most important, he be- 
lieved, was that labor be made an essential part of the Govern- 
ment with a real labor representative in the Cabinet. "Like 
other economic groups it must share in the determination of 
Government's fiscal, domestic and international policies." On 
the other hand labor must become responsible and drive from 
its midst the racketeers, adopt democratic procedures, and ac- 
count for its funds both to the public and to its own member- 
ship. Labor-management co-operation, he felt, had proved fruit- 
ful and should be continued. But it was time, he added, for both 
labor and management to grow up, to recognize each other as 
essential factors in the same basic enterprise United States 
industry and to settle their affairs among themselves without 
recourse to Government. 

He warned his party against a high tariff policy. In the minds 
of generations of Americans, he declared, the Republican Party 
is associated with a high protective tariff, yet at the turn of the 
century such Republicans as McKinley, Taft and Root were 
urging modification of the tariff through reciprocal agreements. 
However, after the last war Republican administrations passed 


the two highest tariff bills in our history, the Fordney- 
McCumber and the Hawley-Smoot. Within two years, twenty- 
five countries had established trade barriers against us. "We are 
now faced," he said, "with the urgent post-war economic prob- 
lem of re-establishing a healthy, world-wide trade." Positive 
steps must be taken "to revive the world economically by open- 
ing up international trade." To this end, he said, the Repub- 
lican Party should propose that through the United Nations 
Council an attempt should be made to reach general agreement 
on a clear and uniform code for international economic rela- 
tions." In addition to ending the many absurdities of the 
present tariff, he urged the Republican Party to propose steps 
towards the international stabilization of exchanges. 

He warned his party against any return to isolationism. He 
suggested that the Republican Party demand the immediate 
creation of a Council of the United Nations as a first step 
towards the formation of an international organization. The 
Republican platform should be clear, he emphasized, in its 
attitude towards sovereignty. "Our sovereignty is not something 
to be hoarded, but something to be used," he declared. It must 
be used to create an effective international organization for the 
good of all peoples everywhere. Three years ago, two years ago, 
the United States had had the material, the political, the moral 
leadership of the world. Now we had only the material leader- 
ship. We lost political leadership through ineptitude and delay. 
We lost moral leadership through attempted expediency. "The 
Republican Party should frame and pursue a foreign policy that 
will recapture America's lost leadership." 

Such was the philosophy Willkie hopefully wrote as a guide 
in the deliberations of his political colleagues. It was significant 
that Willkie had shifted his views on social security since the 
thirties, although he still held strongly to the advantages of the 
free enterprise system. 

On the twenty-sixth of June, 1944, the Republican National 
Convention met in Chicago. Willkie had urged Cleveland as the 
convention city because of the isolationist influence of the Chi- 
cago Tribune, but had been overruled. Even before the con- 
vention assembled, Thomas E. Dewey was recognized as the 
Republican candidate most likely to capture the nomination. 


Willkie wanted to discuss with Dewey, before he went to 
Chicago, certain planks for the Republican platform. Several 
meetings were arranged for the two Republican leaders by 
interested friends, but all appointments were broken by the 
Governor, much to the disappointment of Willkie. The old 
antagonism flared up on both sides. Dewey had won control of 
the state organization of the Republican Party and he used his 
authority to block all efforts to name his rival as a member of the 
New York delegation. This political slight rankled deeply. The 
omission was made all the more noticeable by the cold invita- 
tion to attend the convention extended to Willkie by Harrison 
E. Spangler, the National Chairman. The invitation entitled 
him merely to a seat on the platform of the convention; he 
could listen to the proceedings but was barred from participa- 
tion. Willkie had every right to expect an invitation to address 
the convention. But Dewey and the Old Guard would have 
none of this. If Willkie came to the convention it would be 
only in the capacity of a spectator. This was an affront almost 
without precedent. It was an open and direct denial that he 
possessed even a small share in the leadership of the Republican 
Party. On the other hand, Willkie declined to commit himself 
to any candidate, especially Dewey. 

Many of Willkie's friends urged him to attend the convention. 
Even after it opened, such faithful colleagues as Sam Pryor, 
Raymond Baldwin and Sinclair Weeks telephoned him to come 
to Chicago. His presence at the convention, they said, would 
defeat Dewey, and would insure the nomination of John W. 
Bricker. But in Willkie's view, the Governor of Ohio was more 
isolationist even than Dewey. The candidate Willkie favored 
was Leverett Saltonstall, of Massachusetts, who had no chance 
of success. So Willkie remained in New York and received fre- 
quent reports of the convention proceedings by telephone. 

He was so deeply concerned about the platform that he even 
drafted a model, which he sent to the Resolutions Committee 
in Chicago. His friends at the convention had little chance, 
however, to argue in behalf of these proposals before the Reso- 
lutions Committee because of the unfriendly feeling towards 
him. Senator Robert A. Taf t held the strategic post of chairman 


of the Resolutions Committee, although Senators Vandenberg 
and Austin were also members. Senator Baldwin and others of 
the Willkie persuasion attempted to form a subcommittee to sit 
with the Resolutions Committee. But this proposal Senator Taft 
promptly rejected. Nevertheless, the committee hearings were 
continued all night long in order that every person who so 
desired would have the opportunity to make a statement of his 
ideas. No one was excluded. 

Willkie's friends at the convention struggled valiantly to 
secure for him an advance copy of the platform. But none was 
available. All members of the committee were pledged to secrecy 
until after the scheduled reading of the platform to the conven- 
tion on Tuesday afternoon, June twenty-seventh. Senator Taft 
and others were determined that Willkie should be prevented 
from stampeding the convention into amendments of the plat- 
form by any adverse comments which he might issue in New 
York. Finally, Willkie turned to a distinguished newspaperman 
with a request for a copy of the release issued to the press. Upon 
the understanding that he would not use the release until after 
the platform had been read to the convention, a copy was given 
him on Sunday evening preceding the opening of the conven- 
tion. Whether Willkie misunderstood the agreement or willfully 
broke his promise could only be revealed by the man himself. 
In any event, early Monday morning, he held a press conference 
in his office at No. 15 Broad Street. He announced keen dis- 
appointment in the platform as drafted by the "Taft-dominated 
Resolutions Committee." The evening papers carried his bitter 
reproaches. The resolutions scuttled his proposals for liberalism 
and international co-operation. 

The platform, he charged, was similar to the Republican 
promises of 1920, which were so broad that Warren Harding 
was able to campaign on world co-operation during the presi- 
dential campaign and to repudiate the League of Nations after 
the election. A Republican President, elected under the pro- 
posed platform of 1944, Willkie maintained, could with equal 
integrity either lead the United States into a world organization 
of states or keep the nation out of such a system. The party 
statement said: 


We declare our relentless aim to win the war against all our 
enemies for the attainment of peace and freedom based on 
justice and security. 

We shall seek to achieve such aims through organized inter- 
national co-operation and not by joining a world state. 

Willkie felt that the platform gave only lip-service to inter- 
nationalism. It contained more than one loophole sufficient to 
permit an apathetic President to evade the responsibility of 
leadership in the creation of an international organization capa- 
ble of suppressing aggression and keeping the peace. Every 
proposed world organization, he said, could be interpreted as a 
"world state," and hence condemned by the Republican Party. 
In concluding his news conference, Willkie assured the reporters 
that he had no criticism for Warren Austin or Arthur Vanden- 
berg. He only hoped that his objections to the proposed plat- 
form would strengthen their position in demanding a forthright 
commitment on post-war international organization. 

The delegates of the Republican Convention were shocked 
as they read their Tuesday morning newspapers to see the Will- 
kie denunciation of the platform, which had not yet been re- 
leased. The Old Guard on the Resolutions Committee were 
infuriated by the discovery that a copy of the platform had 
fallen into Willkie's hands. Charges and counter-charges of 
broken faith swept the committee. 

At the afternoon session on Tuesday, the draft of the platform, 
according to plan, was read by Senator Taft. It was immediately 
adopted without discussion or dissent. Notwithstanding the 
Willkie opposition, party unity and harmony had been pre- 
served, at least outwardly. With equal precision, the presidential 
boom of Tom Dewey moved forward. Indeed, on Wednesday, 
Dewey was nominated on the first ballot. At an early stage of the 
balloting Pryor had telephoned Willkie in New York to say 
that Dewey's superb political organization already had captured 
enough delegates to ensure an early victory. The extraordinary 
capacity of the New York Governor for strategy had fully 
demonstrated itself. 

As Dewey's advisers hastened to make plans for the coming 
campaign, their principal worry concerned the reaction of 
Wendell Willkie to the Dewey nomination. Would the defeated 


candidate publicly declare his opposition to Dewey and his 
preference for Roosevelt, and thereby split the Republican 
Party? Willkie's friends in Chicago telephoned Thomas Lamont 
urging him to visit Willkie at once and persuade him against 
any hasty action. Meanwhile, Baldwin, taking a plane back to 
New York for the graduation of his son from Columbia Uni- 
versity, was commissioned by Pryor and Weeks to see Willkie 
and give him an earnest talk on party loyalty. Faithful to his 
pledge, immediately upon his arrival in New York, Baldwin 
hastened to No. 15 Broad Street, and spent two hours alone 
with Willkie. 

He found his old friend and colleague agitated and eager to 
discuss his lack of confidence in Dewey and his disappointment 
in the platform. As Willkie paced up and down his office, Bald- 
win endeavored to appeal to his sense of sportsmanship and 
party regularity. To desert the GOP, Baldwin argued, would 
hurt Willkie and his cause as much as the Republican organiza- 
tion. Finally, Willkie stopped his restless pacing and stood 
squarely before Baldwin. With great emphasis he pounded his 
clenched fist into the palm of his other hand as he declared: 
"You can paste this in your hat. I will never support Roosevelt!" 
With this pledge, torn from Willkie's distressed soul, Baldwin 

Willkie sat alone at his desk facing a window overlooking the 
harbor with its many tugs and shipping cargoes. The office was 
very quiet. No political associate came to offer comfort. Even the 
newspapermen had deserted him. He was the forgotten candi- 
date. Slowly he wrote the perfunctory telegram of congratula- 
tion to his successful rival, the man he so thoroughly disliked 
and mistrusted. 

It said: "Hearty congratulations on your nomination. You 
have one of the great opportunities of history." In Republican 
circles, it was considered a cold passage he had proffered no 
help in the ensuing campaign, no pledge of support. Humili- 
ated and hurt, Willkie could not bring himself to offer his 
support in his usual generous manner. His deep distrust of 
Dewey never abated. 

With Willkie's press release of criticism on the Republican 
platform, Collier's magazine asked him to write two articles 


analyzing both the Republican and the Democratic platforms. 
Again his talent as a publicist was superior to his ability as a 

He called the action o both parties "cowardice at Chicago." 
Declaring that Benjamin Disraeli had once defined a practical 
man as one who practised the errors of his forefathers, Willkie 
said the definition might be used for those practical politicians 
who drafted the platforms of the Republican and Democratic 
parties. Meeting at a moment, he said, the import of which for 
the country's future was scarcely less than that in which the 
Government was born or that which saw the great crisis of 
the Civil War, those men and women chose to borrow from 
the past neither the bold, imaginative spirit which moved the 
founding fathers to launch the untried experiment of -a repub- 
lic, nor the kind of courageous meeting of the issues and 
problems of the day which will make the name of Abraham 
Lincoln imperishable in history. Instead they borrowed from 
the past the timidities, the outworn doctrines and mistakes long 
since rejected by history. 

He thought the two platforms paralleled each other in many 
respects, and revealed the tendency of politcians to conciliate 
all elements of the population without offending others within 
or without the party. "This cowardice on the part of both 
parties occurred at a time when millions of Americans were 
fighting on a dozen battlefronts and on all the high seas for 
the preservation of America's principles, principles on which 
our position expressed through our two great political parties 
in convention, should have been made so clear that even our 
enemies could not fail to understand." 

Both platforms, he charged, had failed to grapple with the 
issue of sovereignty. Traditional sovereignty, he held, could 
not be maintained in an effective international organization. 
Indeed, there could be no permanent peace without a loss of 
sovereignty. As a result, all that could be hoped for would be a 
"consultative pact of peace-loving nations." He declared that 
an international organization empowered to maintain peace, 
justice, and security demanded something more. Nevertheless, 
he considered the Democratic plank on foreign policy better in 
many ways than the Republican plank. At least it was more 


forthright on the use of armed force and joint action to preserve 
the peace. 

Willkie scored the Republicans for the secrecy with which 
they guarded the platform so that even Republican governors 
who were delegates to the convention could not secure a copy 
to study before it was read to the convention. Because of the 
demand for party harmony, he said, it was adopted by a yea-nay 
vote within twenty seconds after it was read. "The opportunity 
did not arise, either as a delegate or otherwise, for me to par- 
ticipate in shaping the party's policies in its 1944 convention 
deliberations," he sadly stated. 

Willkie held both platforms were deficient in their statements 
on foreign policy. Likewise he considered them both as deficient 
in regard to the Negro citizen, "both of the 1944 political plat- 
forms in their pledges to the Negro and their programs for him 
are tragically inadequate. It must also be said that the Repub- 
lican platform is distinctly better than the Democratic." Yet he 
noted that they both evaded clear statements on voting, fair 
employment practices, and equality in the armed services. 

By this sharp analysis of the weakness of both platforms, 
Willkie hoped to arouse a public opinion that would require 
the candidates to put aside generalities and evasions. He hoped 
the candidates would be compelled to deal in concise terms with 
the great issues before the nation and the world. 

The coolness of Willkie towards Dewey soon became a matter 
of national interest. Roosevelt's aides now attempted to woo 
him into support of the New Deal Administration. Likewise, 
the Dewey associates pressed for his committal to the Republi- 
can candidate. By withholding support from either candidate, 
Willkie hoped to force each into a more advanced declaration 
upon American leadership in promoting a strong international 
organization. He attempted to play one party against the other, 
in order to hold both candidates to the pattern of One World. 
Weary and anxious as to the outcome of foreign policy, Willkie 
again turned to the task of informing the American people 
about the issues of the campaign. He was the great advocate 
pleading his cause. 

Willkie's silence regarding the candidates soon proved to be 
extremely embarrassing. Shrewdly taking advantage of the situ- 


ation, President Roosevelt summoned Willkie to the White 
House on the pretext of seeking his advice. But Willkie inter- 
preted these "command visits" as an effort to give the impression 
to the voters that the President really possessed Willkie's support. 

On his side, Dewey tried to entice Willkie out of his Achilles 
camp. He invited him to come to Albany to discuss foreign 
policy with his own personal adviser, John Foster Dulles. This 
would have inevitably ended with the taking of news pictures 
of Willkie and Dewey in conference, which would have implied 
a tacit approval of the Republican candidate. To avoid this 
commitment Willkie suggested that Dulles meet him in New 
York. Accordingly, the meeting took place on August twenty- 
first at Dulles' house, on East Ninety-first Street. The two states- 
men found that they were in general agreement except on one 
point. Dulles agreed with Willkie's proposal that the United 
Nations should have an international police force at its dis- 
posal. Both agreed that American participation in the inaugu- 
ration and use of an international military establishment could 
properly be effected only through authority conferred upon the 
President by means of an act of Congress. But here, according 
to Willkie, congressional control should end. After congressional 
approval of an international police force was attained, the use 
of the force must be left to the discretion of the President. 
Dulles was loath to leave the President free from continuous 
legislative supervision. Both Willkie and Dulles agreed upon 
the importance of permitting the participation of all the nations, 
especially the small nations, in the post-war organization of the 
United Nations. 

As a result of this amicable conference, a joint statement was 
issued by Willkie and Dulles which was rather colorless but 
which did present a semblance of party agreement. It read: 
"We have conferred extensively about various international 
problems bearing on world organization to assure lasting peace. 
There was a full exchange of views not animated by partisan 
consideration or having to do with any candidacy but by the 
desire of both of us that the United States should play a con- 
structive and responsible part in assuring world order/' 

The joint statement was one of the last public acts of Wendell 
Willkie. Late in August he visited the summer home of Sam 


Pryor in the forests of Maine. At night, as a group of friends 
sat around the campfire under a starlit sky, more than one of 
them remarked the strange silence of the distinguished guest. 
Unlike his usual self, he seldom spoke. Often his head was 
bowed over his folded arms. His massive figure, silhouetted 
against the mobile shadows, seemed to embody discouragement, 
frustration and utter weariness. 

In another week, Willkie had left for Rushville to inspect his 
Indiana farms. The weather was hot and humid, but he was 
relentless in tramping around his cornfields and meadows. In 
the midst of his exertion he suffered a severe heart attack. After 
local physicians had eased his pain, he took a train for New 

When Mrs. Willkie met him at the Pennsylvania Station, she 
was filled with deep apprehension over the weary appearance 
of her husband. As he slumped back in the seat of the taxicab, 
he murmured, "Billie, I am afraid this is something I can't 
lick." After Labor Day, Willkie entered the Lenox Hill Hos- 
pital for medical observation. Although still in the prime of 
life, being only fifty-two years of age, he was thoroughly ex- 
hausted. He had used up his great store of energy in a prodigal 
manner. Yet at first the doctors did not view his condition as 
serious. They merely advised rest His condition became worse 
several weeks later when a second ailment, a streptococcic throat 
infection, developed. Nevertheless the doctor permitted him to 
see some visitors and Willkie maneuvered it so that he saw 
others. Two days before he died he had a fine visit with his old 
friend, Roscoe Drummond, a correspondent of the Christian 
Science Monitor, although in a surreptitious manner which 
indicated that he saw many other people in the same way. 

It was Willkie, himself, who telephoned Drummond and 
arranged the time of his visit. Willkie explained to his friend 
how to slip in the back way and how to reach his room without 
being seen. When Drummond arrived at his room by this cir- 
cuitous way, Willkie appeared highly pleased with himself for 
this successful little deception upon the hospital attendants. The 
newspaperman found the patient in excellent spirits with his 
usual zest and eager plans for the future. He was not the broken, 
discouraged person that some writers later pictured him. 


Just before dawn on October 8, Willkie succumbed to an 
acute cardiac condition brought on by his exhaustion and the 
toxic effects from the streptococcic infection of his throat. 

On the following day, Willkie's body lay in state in the Fifth 
Avenue Presbyterian Church, while thousands of citizens passed 
the casket in respect to his memory. Funeral services were held 
on October tenth. In an eloquent address, the Reverend Dr. 
John Sutherland Bonnell declared: "Seldom have the American 
people been so shocked and stunned as when tidings flashed 
across this nation and around the world that Wendell Willkie 
had died. Men and women discussed that news in hushed tones 
and with awed voices. In homes of every class and race and 
creed, there was something more than a realization of national 
deprivation. There was a poignant sense of personal bereave- 
ment." A crowd of thirty-five thousand men and women, who 
could not find room in the church, lined the streets and watched 
in respectful silence. 

To many humble folk who had passed by his bier in the 
church, Willkie was revered as the great defender of the Ameri- 
can way of life. To more discerning mourners, Willkie appeared 
as the eloquent advocate of free enterprise, and the genuine 
patriot who, at a great crisis in world history, had removed 
party politics from the conduct of American foreign policy. To 
American men and women it seemed that as long as there was 
a Wendell Willkie in the land, no ambitious President could 
make himself a dictator, or practise executive usurpation, or 
censor the press, or encroach upon the rights of American citi- 
zens. As long as there was a Willkie, a voice would be heard 
demanding equal opportunity for all citizens, civil liberties for 
all Negroes and other minority groups, and freedom of speech 
and conscience for everyone, everywhere. As long as there was 
a Willkie, the American people would be able to rise above 
partisan quarrels, to render their judgment upon the great issues 
of the day by rational processes rather than by blind passion 
and hatreds, and to maintain a national unity that would be 
conducive to the public welfare. 

While the nation mourned, Secretary of War Henry L. Stim* 
son telegraphed Willkie's widow proposing that the great advo- 
cate be buried with the national heroes in Arlington National 


Cemetery. Edith was not unmoved by the proposal, but she 
knew that Willkie belonged to the Middle West, the heart of 
America. Shortly after the eloquent words of Dr. Bonnell had 
been uttered, the coffin of Wendell Willkie was placed on board 
a train for transportation to Rushville, Indiana. Twenty-five 
years earlier, a young soldier, mustered out of the Army at the 
end of the First World War, had journeyed to Indiana to re- 
enter civilian life and to carve out his career as a lawyer. Now, 
after a short but distinguished service to the nation, this Ameri- 
can hero returned to his native prairie forever. 



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New Haven, Connecticut. 1937. 


Arnold, Thurman W. The Symbols of Government. Yale University Press. 

New Haven, Connecticut. 1935. 
Bauer, John, and Nathaniel Gold. The Electric Power Industry. Harper 

and Brothers. New York. 1939. 
Beard, Charles A. President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941: 

A Study in Appearances and Realities. Yale University Press. New Haven, 

Connecticut. 1948. 
Blachly, F. F., and M. E. Oatman. Federal Regulatory Action and Control 

The Brookings Institution. Washington, D. C. 1940. 
Bonbright, James C., and Gardiner C. Means. The Holding Company. 

McGraw-Hill Book Company. New York. 1932. 
Bonbright, James C. Public Utilities and the National Power Policies. 

Columbia University Press. New York. 1940. 
Cardozo, Benjamin N. The Growth of the Law. Yale University Press. 

New Haven, Connecticut. 1924. 
Cardozo, Benjamin N. The Nature of the Judicial Process. 8th printing. 

Yale University Press. New Haven, Connecticut. 1932. 
Carlson, John Roy. Under Cover: My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld 

of America. E. P. Button and Company. New York. 1943. 
Ciliberti, Charles. Backstairs Mission in Moscow. Booktab Press. New York. 


Colegrove, Kenneth. The American Senate and World Peace. The Van- 
guard Press. New York. 1944. 
Collins, Frederick L. Uncle Sam's Billion-Dollar Baby: A Taxpayer Looks 

at the TVA. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 1945. 
Cooley, Thomas M. A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations Which 

Rest Upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union. 

8th edition. Little, Brown and Company. Boston. 1927. 
Corwin, Edward S. Constitutional Revolution, Ltd. daremont Colleges. 

Claremont, California. 1941. 
Corwin, Edwin S. Court Over Constitution: A study of Judicial Review 

as an Instrument of Popular Government. Princeton University Press. 

Princeton, New Jersey. 1938. 

Corwin, Edward S. The President: Office and Powers, 1787-1948. 3rd edi- 
tion. New York University Press. New York. 1948. 
Davis, Forrest, and Ernest EL Lindley. How War Came: An American 

White Paper. Simon and Schuster. New York. 1942. 
Duffus, R. I., and Charles Krutch. The Valley and Its People: A Portrait 

of TVA. Alfred A. Knopf. New York. 1944. 
Editors of the Economist. The New Deal: An Analysis and Appraisal. 

Alfred A. Knopf. New York. 1937. 
Feis, Herbert. The Road to Pearl Harbor. Princeton University Press. 

Princeton, New Jersey. 1950. 
Gallup, George H., and Saul F. Rae. The Pulse of Democracy. Simon and 

Schuster. New York. 1940. 


Hewart, Gordon. The New Despotism. Cosmopolitan Book Corporation. 

New York. 1929. 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell. The Common Law. Little, Brown and Company. 

Boston. 1938. 
Hoover, Herbert, and Hugh Gibson. The Problem of Lasting Peace. 

Doubleday, Doran and Company. New York. 1942. 
Howard, W. V. Authority in TV A Land. Kansas City, Missouri. 1948. 
Insull, Samuel. Public Utilities in Modern Life: Selected Speeches by 

Samuel Insull. Edited by William E. Keily. Privately Printed. Chicago. 

Johnson, Walter. The Battle Against Isolation. University of Chicago Press. 

Chicago. 1944. 
Kemmerer, Edwin W. Gold and the Gold Standard: The Story of Gold 

Money, Past, Present, and Future. McGraw-Hill Book Company. New 

York. 1944. 
Key, V. O. Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups. 2nd edition. Thomas Y. 

Crowell Company, New York. 1950. 
Lindley, Ernest K. Half Way with Roosevelt. The Viking Press. New York. 

Lippmann, Walter. U. S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic. Little, 

Brown and Company. Boston. 1943. 

Lundberg, Ferdinand. America's Sixty Families. Vanguard. New York. 1937. 
Lutz, Harley L. Insecurity of the Security Program. Princeton University 

Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 1936. 
Meriam, Lewis. Relief and Social Security. The Brookings Institution. 

Washington, D. C. 1946. 
Moulton, Harold, and others. The Regulation of the Security Markets. 

The Brookings Institution. Washington, D. C. 1946. 
Pound, Roscoe. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law. Yale University 

Press. New Haven, Connecticut. 1922. 
Pritchett, C. Herman. The Roosevelt Court: A Study in Judicial Politics 

and Values, 1937-1947. The Macmillan Company. New York. 1948. 
Pritchett, C. Herman. The Tennessee Valley Authority: A Study in Public 

Administration. University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, North 

Carolina. 1943. 
Snyder, Carl. Capitalism the Creator. The Macmillan Company. New York. 

Strunk, Mildred, and Hadley Cantril. Public Opinion, 1935-1946. Princeton 

University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 1951. 
The Twentieth Century Fund. Power Industry and the Public Interest: 

A Summary of the Results of a Survey of the Relations Between the 

Government and the Electric Power Industry. Edited by Edward Eyre 

Hunt. New York. 1944. 
Warren, Charles. Congress as Santa Claus: Or National Donations and the 

General Welfare Clause of the Constitution. Michie Company. Char- 

lottesville, Virginia. 1932. 


Waterman, Merwin H. Economic Implications of Public Utility Holding 
Company Operations, with Particular Reference to the Reasonableness 
of the "Death Sentence" Clause of the Public Utility Holding Company 
Act. University of Michigan, School of Business Administration, Bureau 
of Business Research. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1941. 

Whitman, Willson. David Lilienthal: Public Sen-ant in a Power Age. 
Henry Holt and Company. New York. 1948. 

Whitton, John B. (ed.). The Second Chance: America and the Peace. 
Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 1944. 

Willoughby, Westel W. The Constitutional Law of the United States. 2nd 
edition. Baker, Voorhis and Company. New York. 1929. 

Wilson, G. Lloyd, and others. Public Utility Regulation. McGraw-Hill 
Book Company. New York. 1938. 


An address, "Government and Private Ownership," at the dinner of the 

American Statistical Association in New York City. September 26, 1934. 
An address, "The Other Side of the TVA Program/' at the Rotary Club 

of Birmingham, Alabama. November 9, 1934. 
An address, "Government and the Public Utilities," at the joint meeting 

of the Economic Club of New York and the Harvard Business School 

Club. January 21, 1935. 
An address before the Bond Club, at Newark, New Jersey. February 28, 

An article, "The Campaign Against the Companies," in Current History. 

May, 1935. 
An address, "The New Fear," at the 23rd annual meeting of the United 

States Chamber of Commerce at Washington, D. C. May 1, 1935. 
An address, "The Public Utility Problem: Its Recent History and Possible 

Solution," at the Bond Club of New York City. December 19, 1935. 
A radio address over NBC, "Who Pays the Bills for TVA?" March 5, 1936. 

(Sometimes listed as "Position of the Utilities in the TVA Situation.") . 
An article, "Horse Power and Horse Sense," in Review of Reviews. August, 

An article, "Political Power," in the Atlantic Monthly. August, 1937. 

(Sometimes listed as "Will the Government Take Over the Utilities?") 
An article, "The New Deal Power Plan Challenged," in the New York 

Times Magazine. October 31, 1937. 

A radio debate with the Honorable Robert H. Jackson, "How Can Govern- 
ment and Business Work Together," on America's Town Meeting of the 

Air. January 6, 1938. 
An address at the University of Indiana on Foundation Day. Bloomington, 

Indiana. May 4, 1938. 
An address, "The True Liberalism," at the Herald Tribune Forum in New 

York City. October 26, 1938. 


An article, "Idle Money, Idle Men," in the Saturday Evening Post. June 
17, 1939. 

An article, "Brace Up, America!" in Atlantic Monthly. June, 1939. 

An article, "What Helps Business Helps You," in Nation's Business. Tune 

A book review of The Young Melbourne, by David Cecil, in the New York 
Herald Tribune Book Review. August 27, 1939. 

An address, "The Great American Tripod: All Three Legs Must Reach 
the Ground," at the Bankers Club in New York City. November 1, 1939. 

An address, "We Have Gone Far Enough Down the Road to Federal Con- 
trol," at the Holland Society Dinner, New York. November 16, 1939. 

An article, "Why I Believe in America," in North American Review. 
December, 1939 and condensed in Readers' Digest, December, 1939, as 
"The Faith That Is America." 

An address, "The American College/' at Wooster College, Wooster, Ohio. 
January 29, 1940. 

An article, "Set Enterprise Free!" in the Christian Science Monitor, maga- 
zine section. March 2, 1940. 

An address, "Government Becomes a Monopoly," at Toledo, Ohio. March 
4, 1940. 

An article, "The Court Is Now His," in the Saturday Evening Post. March 

9, 1940. 

An address, "Liberalism," at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, 
California. March 15, 1940. 

An article, "Fair Trial," in the New Republic. March 18, 1940. 

Participant on the radio program "Information, Please." April 9, 1940. 

An article, "We the People," in Fortune. April, 1940. 

The Willkie-Ickes debate at American Society of Newspaper Editors Con- 
vention. Washington, D. C. April 19, 1940. 

An address, "Some of the Issues of 1940," at the Bureau of Advertising, 
American Newspaper Publishers Association, in New York. April 25, 1940. 

An address to the Republicans, at St. Paul, Minnesota. May 11, 1940. 

An address at a Republican Rally, Sommerville, New Jersey. May 20, 1940. 

An article, "Roosevelt Should Run," in Look. June 4, 1940. 

An article, "Five Minutes to Midnight," in the Saturday Evening Post. 

. June 22, 1940. 

An address of acceptance of the Presidental Nomination by the Republican 
Party. Elwood, Indiana. August 17, 1940. 

An article, "I Challenge Roosevelt on These Issues," in Look. September 

10, 1940. 

An article, "America's First Duty," in the Reader's Digest. October, 1940. 
Addresses, campaign speeches, September 13 to November 2, 1940. 
Occasional Addresses and Articles of Wendell Willkie. Privately printed 

at the Overbrook Press. Stamford, Connecticut. 1940. 
A radio address over NBC and CBS, "The Loyal Opposition." New York. 


November 11, 1940. (Sometimes listed as "Co-operation but Loyal Oppo- 
sition; Discord and Disunity Will Arise if Opposition Is Suppressed.") 

An article, "Patriotism or Politics?" in the American Magazine. November, 

An address, "America Cannot Remove Itself from the World," at the 
Women's National Republican Club. New York. January 8, 1941. 

An address, "The Challenge of Newer Days: Have You Got It in You?" at 
the Lincoln Day dinner. New York City, February 12, 1941. 

An address to Canadians, "Democracy to Live Must Be Expanding." 
Ontario. March 24, 1941. (Sometimes listed as "Address to Canadians.") 

An address, "The Cause of Human Freedom; We Cannot Appease the 
Forces of Evil." Madison Square Garden, New York. May 7, 1941. 

An article, "Americans, Stop Being Afraid," in Collier's. May 10, 1941. 

A radio address over NBC, "Our Faith in the Union; Let Us Not Be 
Divided," at the Chicago Unity Rally. Chicago, Illinois. June 6, 1941. 

A radio address over NBC, "The Meaning of American Liberty." New 
York. July 4, 1941. 

An article, "Let's Keep the Ball," in Reader's Digest. November, 1941. 

An article, "Future of the Republican Party," in the Nation. December 1, 

A radio address over CBS, "We Cannot Win with Quick Dramatics or 
Momentary Heroics." New York. December 20, 1941. 

An address, "We Need Tanks, Not Talk," at the Annual Dinner of the 
United States Conference of Mayors. Washington, D. C. January 13, 1942. 

An address, "Bring General MacArthur Home," at the Lincoln Birthday 
dinner of the Middlesex Club in Boston. February 12, 1942. 

An article, "Let's Look Ahead," in the New York Times Magazine. Febru- 
ary 15, 1942. 

An address, "World Outlook Needed for Americans; We Cannot Keep 
Freedom to Ourselves," at Rochester University. April 23, 1942. 

An address, "Choose Leaders with Principles Not Poll Wobblers," at the 
147th Commencement of Union College. May 11, 1942. 

An article, "Case for the Minorities," in the Saturday Evening Post. June 
27, 1942. 

A radio address over the combined networks of CBS, NBC, the Mutual 
Broadcasting System and the Blue Network on his trip to Russia and 
China. "Our Reservoir of World Respect and Hope: Deliver the Mate- 
rials of War-Define Our Peace Aims." New York. October 26, 1942. 

An address, "Accord Needed Now," at the New York Herald Tribune 
Forum. New York. November 17, 1942. 

An address at Toronto, Canada, on "Aid to Russia." November 25, 1942. 

An article, "Give Your Children a World Outlook," in Parents' Magazine. 
November, 1942. 

A pamphlet, One World. Simon and Schuster. New York. 1943. 

An address, "Freedom and the Liberal Arts," at Duke University. January 
14, 1943. 


An article, "We Must Work with Russia," in the New York Times Maga- 
zine. January 17, 1943. 

An article, "Life on the Russian Frontier," Readers Digest. March, 1943. 

An article, "Airways to Peace," in Travel. September, 1943. 

An article, "How the Republican Party Can Win in 1944," in Look. 
October 5, 1943. 

A radio address, "America's Purposes," from St. Louis over NBC. October 
15, 1943. (Sometimes given as "Our Task: Problems Facing the Republi- 
can Party.") 

An address, "Better Management, Please, Mr. President," in Reader's Di- 
gest. November, 1943. 

A pamphlet, An American Program. Simon and Schuster. New York- 1944. 

An article, "Don't Stir Distrust of Russia," in the New York Times Maga- 
zine. January 2, 1944. 

An address, "Preserve Self-Government; Fiscal Program for War and Post- 
war Period." Delivered at the first of a series of three meetings under 
the general title of "America Plans and Dreams," arranged by the New 
York Times. New York. February 2, 1944. 

Addresses, campaign speeches in Wisconsin, March 18-30, 1944. 

An address withdrawing from presidential race at Omaha, Nebraska, April 
5, 1944. 

An article, "Our Sovereignty; Shall We Use It?" in Foreign Affairs. April, 

An address before the National Association for the Advancement of Col- 
ored People in New York, May 26, 1944. 

An article, "Cowardice at Chicago," in Collier's. September 16, 1944. 

An article, "Citizens of Negro Blood," in Collier's. October 7, 1944. 


Adams, Franklin P., 128 

After Seven Years, 54 

Agricultural Adjustment Administra- 
tion, 104 

Aid to Allies, see National defense 

Akron Times, 31 

Alabama Power Company, 36, 67, 69, 
75, 76, 80, 89, 90 

Alabama Power Company v. Ickes, 80, 

Albertsworth, Edwin F., 83 

Alcorn County, 49, 50 

Alexander, First Lord A. V., 236 

Alexander, General Sir Harold R. L. G., 
266, 268 

All-Chicago Citizens' Rally, 252 

Allen, Representative Leo E., 153 

Alsop, Joseph, 247 

Altschul, Frank, 130, 135, 145, 151, 297, 
311, 328 

Amateurs' campaign, 132, 147, 150, 169, 
170, 185, 196, 198, 200, 210, 212, 263, 

American First Committee, 232, 238, 

American Legion, 30, 32, 183, 193, 251, 

American Magazine, 339 

American Sheet and Tin Plate Com- 
pany, 18 

America's Sixty Families, 108, 114 

America's Town Meeting of the Air, 
107, 108, 110, 117 

"An American Program," 339, 342 

Anderson, Leo E., 164 

Army and Navy Journal, 280 

Arnold, Thurman, 117, 118 

Arnold, Wat, 320 

Ashwander, George, 75 

Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Au- 
thority, 75, 76, 77, 83 

Associated Gas and Electric Company, 

Attlee, Lord Privy Seal dement, 236 

Austin, Senator Warren, 257, 260, 314, 
347, 348 

Baker, Fred E., 263-264 
Baker, Newton D., 32, 42 


Baldwin, Senator Raymond ., 123, 124, 

144-145, 147, 149, 160, 163, 170, 171, 

198, 247, 346, 347, 349 
Ball, Senator Joseph H., 221, 260, 332 
"Ballad for Americans," 157 
Bankhead, Speaker William B., 181 
Barbour, Senator W. Warren, 260 
Barkley, Senator Alben, 180 
Barnard, Dr. Harold D., 204 
Barnes, Joseph, 268, 270-271, 280 
Barton, Representative Bruce, 144, 147, 

160, 219 

Battle of Britain, 242, 244, 250 
Bauer, Mrs. Bertha, 201 
Beaverbrook, Lord, 236 
Beck, James M., 77 
Bell, Elliott V., 200, 201. 203, 205-206, 

208, 209, 221 
Berle, Adolph A., 54 
Berry, Dr. Lillian Gay, 21, 25 
Berve, Ben L., 249 
Bevin, Ernest, 236 
Big Business, 65, 68. 73, 77, 86, 91, 109, 

111, 112 
Bipartisan foreign policy, 233, 246, 257, 

258, 261, 262, 263, 265 
Black, Justice Hugo L., 85, 306 
Bleakley, William F., 150 
Bolles, Representative Stephen, 153 
Bonnell, Rev. Dr. John Sutherland, 


Boston Herald, 325 
Boulder Dam, 42 
Brain Trust, 54, 92 
Brandeis, Justice Louis D., 56, 73, 74, 


Brewer, Justice, 73 
Brewster, Senator R. Owen, 153, 260 
Bricker, Governor John, 123, 167-168, 

214, 325 
Bridges, Senator Styles, 131, 136, 145, 

149, 171, 179, 257, 259, 260 
Brookings Institution, 101 
Brooks, C. Wayland, 201 
Brown, Edgar G., 327 
Brown, Senator Fred H., 68 
Bryan, President William, 25 
Buck, Pearl, 298 
Buell, Raymond, 203, 205 



Butler, President Nicholas Murray, 340 
Butler, Justice Pierce, 78, 82 
Butler, Pierce, Jr., 205, 206, 220, 221 
Byrd, Senator Harry, 91 
Byrnes, Senator James F., 180 

Cake, Ralph H., 326, 329 

Callaway Park, 190, 193 

Campaign Special, 201, 202, 203, 205, 

206, 207, 208, 209, 213, 215, 216, 218, 

221, 223 
Capehart, Senator Homer, 124, 190-193, 


Capital, 86, 102, 103, 114, 199, 343, 344 
Cardozo, Justice Benjamin N., 81 
Carpenter, Gilbert E., 249 
Carr, Governor Ralph L., 148, 149, 153 
Catledge, Turner, 143-145, 260 
Catroux, General Georges, 266, 269 
Chadwick, Stephen F., 183 
Chattanooga, 50, 79, 88 
Chennault, General Claire Lee, 285, 

286, 287 
Chiang Kai-shek, Generalissimo, 266, 

280, 282, 285, 298 
Chiang Kai-shek, Madame, 283 
Chicago Daily News, 341 
Chicago Tribune, 163, 263, 264, 320, 

322, 329, 331, 345 
Chickamauga Dam, 50 
Christian Herald, 183 
Christian Science Monitor, 353 
Chungking, 279, 280, 284, 285, 287 
Churchill, Prime Minister Winston, 

134, 208, 234, 236, 237-238, 246, 264, 

266, 320 
Clark, Senator Bennett Champ, 242, 

258, 302-303 

Clevenger, Representative Cliff, 153 
Cobb, Bernard Capen, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38 
Cobb, Irvin S., 183 
CoffeyvUle,23,24,203,299 . 
Cohen, Benjamin V., 55, 56, 59, 60, 62, 

63, 65, 66, 81, 93, 95, 107, 108, 182 
Coieman, Thomas, 322, 323, 324, 383 
Collier's, 349 

Colorado Springs, 180, 186, 187, 188, 196 
Columbia Broadcasting System, 157, 

Columbia River, 42 
Committee on Appropriations (House 

of Representatives), 91 
Committee on Appropriations (Senate), 


Committee to Defend America by Aid- 
ing the Allies, 251 
Committee on Foreign Relations 

(Senate) 238 

Committee on Interstate Commerce 
(Senate), 61, 66, 68, 70 

Committee on Interstate and Foreign 
Commerce (House of Representa- 
tives), 92, 94 

Committee on Military Affairs (House 
of Representatives), 44-45, 46-51 

Commodity Credit Corporation, 104 

Commonwealth and Southern Corpora- 
tion (C&S), 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 41, 43, 
44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 59, 62, 63, 
64, 67, 68, 69, 70, 74-76, 78, 81, 87, 
89, 90, 113, 116, 121, 130, 175, 177, 
196, 235, 294, 297, 300, 301, 302, 325, 

Communism, 180, 261, 276, 304, 305, 
306, 307 

Conant, President James B., 95 

Connally, Senator Thomas, 180 

Contract with TVA, 49, 52, 70, 76, 89 

Convention ballots, see Roll call of 

Convoys, 251, 253, 255, 256, 337 

Cooley, Judge, 73 

Coolidge, Mrs. Calvin, 172 

Cooper, Alfred Duff, 236 

Cooper, Colonel Merian C., 287 

Corcoran, Thomas, 54, 55, 56, 59-60, 62, 
63, 65, 66, 72, 81, 93, 95, 107, 108, 117, 

Coudert, Senator Frederic R., 160 

Court cases, 68, 73, 74, 75, 76, 79, 80, 81, 
82, 83, 84, 93 

Cowles, Gardner, Jr., 268 

Cowles, John, 235, 333 

Cox, James M., 32 

Creager, Colonel R. B., 152, 168, 177 

Crittenberger, Dale, 27 

Crum, Bartley, 206 

Crump, Edward H., 181 

Cummings, Attorney-General Homer 
S., 77, 81 

Dailey, Frank C., 27 

Darrow, Clarence, 19 

Davenport, Russell, 126, 131, 132, 139, 

146, 147, 150-151, 159, 169, 173, 174, 

180, 185, 187, 188, 201, 204, 206, 208, 

Davey, Representative Martin L., 32, 


Davie, May, 123 
Davis, Elmer, 225 
Davis, John W., 32 
Day, Stephen A., 263 
Deane, General John R., 271 
Death Sentence, 58, 62, 92, 93, 99 
Declaration of war, 262 



De Gaulle, General Charles, 266, 269 

DeHority, George, 24 

Democratic Party, 18, 26, 32, 39, 42, 54, 
90, 125, 181, 182, 183, 184, 210, 215, 
230, 246, 344 

Democrats-for-Willkie, 183, 184, 185, 

De Roussy de Sales, Raoul J. J. F., 293, 

Desvernine, Raoul, 124, 188, 198, 199, 

De Valera, President Eamon, 237 

Dewey, Governor Thomas, 123, 133, 
137, 145, 146, 147, 151, 154, 158, 160, 
161, 169, 189, 200, 225, 248, 250, 254, 
294, 312, 314-315, 325, 330-333, 345, 
346, 348, 351, 352 

Dickinson, John E., 322, 329 

Dickinson, Governor Luren D., 166 

Dirksen, Senator Everett, 314 

Dodd, Walter F., 84 

Dougherty, Cardinal, 157 

Douglas, Lewis W., 85, 183, 184, 251 

Douglas, Justice William O., 85, 106, 
117, 119, 306 

Draft, see Selective Service and Train- 
ing Act 

Drummond, Roscoe, 226, 353 

Dulles, John Foster, 352 

Early, Stephen, 288 

Eaton, Representative Charles A., 257 

Eden, Anthony, 236 

El Alamein, 268 

Electric Bond and Share Company v. 

Securities and Exchange Commission, 


Emeny, Brooks, 205 
Emporia Gazette, 233 
Export-Import Bank, 104 

Fadiman, Clifton, 128 

Farley, J. Wells, 219, 220 

Farouk, King (of Egypt), 269 

Fascism, 180, 181, 215, 318 

Federal Communications Commission, 

Federal Emergency Administration of 

Public Works, 104 

Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 104 
Federal Housing Administration, 104 
Federal Power Commission, 59, 60 
Federal Reserve Bank, 101 
Federal Trade Commission, 69 
Firestone, Harvey, 28, 30, 31 
Fish, Representative Hamilton, 320 
Fletcher, Henry, 186 
Fly, James Lawrence, 56 

Flying Tigers, 285 

Flynn, Edward J., 181, 215, 230 

Foreign policy, 133, 216, 243, 246, 249, 

258, 261, 263, 314, 337, 348, 351 
Fortune, 126, 182 
Frankfurter, Justice Felix, 54, 55, 56, 

85, 95, 306 
Free enterprise, 102, 106, 120, 131, 133, 

169, 199, 223, 228, 300, 311, 315, 328, 

Friedman, Elisha M., 92, 93 

Gadsden, Philip H., 59, 61 

Gallagher, Harold J., 150, 151, 205, 220, 
223, 302 

Gandhi, Mohandas K., 298 

Gannett, Frank E., 137, 158 

Gauss, Ambassador Clarence E., 280, 

General Accounting Office, 90 

George, Senator Walter F., 243 

Georgia Power Company, 67, 69 

Gerard, Ambassador James W., 33 

Gillette, Senator Guy, 180 

Goodland, Governor, 296, 323, 332 

Government Corporations Appropria- 
tion Bill, 91 

Green, Governor Dwight, 201 

Greenwood, Arthur, 236 

Grew, Ambassador Joseph, 281 

Gridiron dinner, 129, 1B2 


Guerney, Senator Chan, 258, 260 

Gulf Power Company, 67 

Haakon, King (of Norway), 237 

Hadassah, 252 

Hall, Representative Leonard, 153 

Hallanan, Walter, 147, 149 

Halleck, Representative Charles A., 

135, 139, 144-145, 147-148, 149, 159, 

179, 219, 295, 314 
Hamilton, John D. M., 131, 132, 135, 

143, 145, 147, 148, 156, 157, 158, 164, 

165, 173, 176-177, 179, 180* 190, 201, 

211-212, 214, 219, 263, 313, 316-317, 

318, 322, 324, 327, 328 
Hanes, John W., 107, 183, 184, 185, 326, 


Hanna, Mark, 313 
Harry, Gwyneth, 20, 22, 24 
Harvard Business School, 95 
Harvard Law Review, 80 , 
Hatch Act, 186, 223 
Hays, Will H., 176 
Hearings, congressional, 44, 61, 68, 64, 

68, 108, 120, 241 
Hearst newspapers, 165 



Henderson, Leon, 55 

Hepburn, Katherine, 210 

High, Stanley, 183 

Hill, Carol, 200 

Kinsley, Cardinal, 236 

Hitler, Adolf, 197, 203, 215, 250, 251, 

252, 254, 307, 321 
Hoan, Daniel Webster, 322 
Holding companies, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 

66, 69, 93, 100 

Holt, President Hamilton, 183 
Holt, Senator Rush D., 308 
Hoover, Herbert, 166, 169, 173, 186, 

212, 226, 248, 314 
Hopkins, Harry, 55, 65, 87, 107 
Hopson, Howard C, 36, 64 
Howard, Roy, 31, 174, 225 
Huddleston, Representative George, 66 
Hughes, Chief Justice Charles Evans, 

74, 77, 81, 82 
Hull. Secretary Cordell, 231, 234, 238, 

244, 254, 261, 263 
Hull reciprocal trade agreements, see 

Reciprocal trade agreements 
Hurley, Ambassador Patrick J., 278 

Iceland, 253, 254, 255, 259, 337 

Ickes, Secretary Harold, 55, 56, 58, 60, 

80, 107, 108, 129, 180 
Indianapolis Star, 340 
Information Please, 128-129 
Ingalls, David S., 152, 199 
Insull, Samuel, 36, 38, 39, 42, 59, 61, 

International co-operation, see Foreign 

Izvestia, 275 

Jackson, Justice Robert, 55, 81, 107, 

108, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117 
James, Governor Arthur, 123, 163, 165, 

169, 214 

Jenks, Representative Arthur, 153 
Johnson, Herschel V., 235 
Johnson, Hiram, 30, 222, 241, 258, 260 

ohnson, Hugh, 125, 137, 138, 188, 238 

ohnston, Forney, 77 

ones, Lemuel, 329 

'unta, see Palace guard 
Justice Department, 55 

Keefe, Representative Frank, 153 

Kelly, Mayor Edward J., 180 

Kemper, James S., 238 

Kennedy, Ambassador Joseph P., 238 

Kerr, Sir Archibald dark, 275 

Kieran, John, 128 

Kiater, Robert, 247 

Knight, John S., 341 

Knox, Frank, 230, 254, 256, 340, 341 

Knoxville, 50 

Knutson, Representative Harold, 153 

Krock, Arthur, 122, 123, 125, 143, 145, 

Kroeger, William H., 31, 32 
Ku Klux Klan, 32, 33 
Kuibyshev, 269, 270, 272, 273, 274, 276, 

277, 284 

Kung, Madame, 282 
Kuomintang, 278 

Labor, 110, 127, 209, 213, 214, 217, 218, 

323, 343, 344 
LaFollette, Philip, 321 
LaFollette, Senator Robert, 321 
LaFollette, Senator Robert, Jr., 258, 321 
LaGuardia, Mayor Fiorello, 241 
Lament, Thomas, 34, 349 
Landon, Governor Alfred, 124, 125, 143, 

163, 232, 238, 248, 250, 296, 302, 314 
Langer, Senator William, 325-326 
Latouche, John, 157, 158 
Lawrence, David, 124 
Lawrence, Howard C., 166 
Lay, W. P., 71 

Lehman, Governor Herbert, 215 
Lend-Lease, 133, 231, 232, 233, 238, 239, 

240, 241, 243, 244, 247-248, 250, 251, 

Lewis, John L., 213, 214, 217, 218 

Life, 317 

Ulienthal, David, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 

69, 79, 87, 88, 89, 90 
Lin Sen, President (of China), 280-281 
Lindbergh, Charles, 237, 252, 258 
Lindley, Ernest K., 309 
Lippmann, Walter, 233, 338 
Lodge, Senator Henry Cabot, 30 
Lodge, Senator Henry Cabot, Jr., 123 
London Times, 235, 238 
Long, Huey, 72 
Look, 315 
Loomis, Alfred, 36 
Loyal Opposition, 229, 230, 231, 234, 

241, 244, 253, 254, 257, 258, 260, 261, 
262, 264, 267, 337, 339 

Luce, Henry, 317 
Lundberg, Ferdinand, 108 

MacArthur, General Douglas, 325, 332, 

Mackinac conference, see Republican 

Post- War Advisory Council 
MacVeagh, Charlton, 126, 131, 135, 146, 

147, 150 



Madison Square Garden, 220, 222, 258 
Marshall, General George C., 286 
Martin, Speaker Joseph W., Jr., 132, 

148, 159, 160, 171, 173, 179, 185, 186, 

188, 189, 197, 211, 230, 237, 248-250, 

257, 263, 264, 295, 314 
Martin, Thomas W., 36 
Marvin, Mayor Rolland B., 147, 160 
Mather and Nesbitt, 30 
Maverick, Mayor Maury, 180 
McAdoo, William G., 32 
McCarthy, Charlie, 279 
McCartney, Dr. Albert Joseph, 156 
McCormick, Cyrus, 250 
McCormick, Colonel Robert R., 163, 

320, 331 

McCormick, Vance C., 183 
McKay, Frank, 165, 166 
McNary, Senator Charles, 153, 170-171, 

173, 179, 209, 222, 225, 249, 250, 257 
McReynolds, Justice James C., 78, 81, 82 
McWaine, Robert, 249 
Mead, Senator James M., 181 
Mei, Dr. Y. P., 279 
Middleston, Ray, 157 
Miller, Amos C., 31, 32 
Miller, Governor Nathan L., 302 
Miller, Representative Louis E., 320 
Miller, Owen, Otis and Bailey, 300, 302 
Minneapolis Star Journal and Tribune, 


Mississippi Power Company, 67 
Mitchell, Ewing Y., 183 
Moley, Raymond, 53, 54, 55, 56, 123, 

124, 133, 176, 185, 188, 200, 201, 326, 


Molotov, Vyacheslav, 274 
Montgomery, General Sir Bernard L., 


Montgomery, Robert, 204, 210 
Morgan, Arthur E., 52, 79 
Morgenthau, Secretary Henry, 107 
Morley, Christopher, 128 
Morris, John J., 81 
Mowrer, Edgar Ansel, 309 
Muir, Malcolm, 336 
Murphy, Justice Frank, 85, 306 
Murray, Lynn, 157 
Murray, William H., 183 

National Broadcasting System, 229, 288 
National Chairman (Republican Party), 

131, 145, 147, 148, 156, 164, 174, 176, 

177, 179, 188, 198, 248, 249, 346 
National defense, 133, 142, 154, 194, 

231, 232, 238, 242, 258 
National Labor Relations Board, 104, 

110, 223 

National Power Policy Committee, 56, 

Nebraska primary, 333, 334 

Negroes, 202, 307, 342, 354 

Nelson, Donald, 278 

Neutrality Act, 256-257, 258, 259, 260, 

New Deal, 41, 42, 46, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 
56, 57, 58, 61, 64, 69, 74, 84, 88, 91, 94, 
95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 
106, 110, 115, 116, 117, 119, 120, 125, 
126, 134, 169, 178, 181, 182, 188, 194, 
200, 205, 216, 222, 223, 228, 231, 232, 
233, 234, 241, 300, 301, 325 

New York Herald Tribune, 123, 127, 
233, 247, 268, 292, 293, 325 

New York Herald Tribune Forum, 117, 

New York Sun, 125, 243 

New York Times, 83, 122, 143, 145, 200, 
221, 230, 254, 259, 260, 262, 263, 307, 
309, 316, 317, 318, 328, 333, 339, 342 

Newsweek, 124, 309, 336 

Nomura, Ambassador, 261 

Norman, Montagu, 236 

Norris, Senator George W., 42, 44, 65, 

Noyes, C. Remold, 294 

Nye, Senator Gerald P., 243, 248, 255, 

Oberlin College, 23, 24 
O'Keefe, Walter, 210 
Oliphant, A. Chambers, 121 
Omaha statement, 335, 336 
One World, 276, 290, 292, 309, 316, 321, 
333, 339, 352 

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, 43 

Palace Guard, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 64, 65, 
94, 116 

Patterson, Under-Secretary of War 
Robert P., .255 

Pearl Harbor, 262, 278, 303 

Petain, Marshal Henri Philippe, 250 

Pew, Joseph N., Jr., 163, 165, 173, 177, 
179, 197, 212, 317 

Philadelphia Convention, see Republi- 
can Party 

Planned economy, 104, 105, 106, 108, 
182, 228 

Platforms of 1944, 341, 342, 345, 346, 
347, 348, 350, 351 

Politbureau, see Communism 

Polland, Milton R., 322, 329, 330, 331 

Polls, see Public opinion 

Pound, Dean Roscoe, 84 

Pravda, 308, 309 



Proskauer, Judge Joseph, 183 

Protestant Digest, 252 

Pryor, Samuel F., 123, 125, 132, 136, 

145-146, 149, 152, 156, 163, 164, 170- 

171, 177, 179, 180, 199, 213, 219-223, 

227, 288, 328, 346, 348, 349, 353 
Public opinion, 43, 51, 84, 93, 120, 182, 

231, 251, 253, 254, 259, 303, 312, 328, 

337, 339 
Public utilities, 41, 42, 52, 58, 60, 61, 63, 

66, 71, 73, 82, 83, 92, 93, 99, 100, 110, 

112, 115, 116, 205, 209 
Public Utility Holding Company Act, 

58, 59, 61, 62, 66-71, 92 
Public Works Administration, 49, 55, 

80, 88 

Queeny, Edgar M., 317, 318, 319, 320 

Rayburn, Speaker Samuel, 60 

Reciprocal trade agreements, 134, 141, 
142, 153, 169 

Recce, Representative Carroll B., 153 

Reed, Senator David A., 167, 258 

Reed, Justice Stanley F., 77, 81, 85, 306 

Reid, Helen (Mrs. Ogden), 34, 123, 292 

Republican National Chairman, see 
National Chairman 

Republican National Conventions, see 
Republican Party 

Republican Party, 122, 125, 126, 130, 
131, 132, 133, 142, 147, 152, 153, 154, 
156, 161, 165, 169, 171, 175, 177, 179, 
180, 185, 190, 192, 203, 206, 208, 214, 
218, 219, 222, 223, 228, 230, 232, 241, 
247, 248, 249, 250, 254, 257, 259, 262, 
263, 264, 300, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 
320, 322, 326, 329, 334, 337, 338, 339, 
342, 343, 344, 345, 346-348 

Republican Post- War Advisory Coun- 
cil, 313-315 

Richberg, Donald, 107 

Rinehart, Stanley M., 312 

Roberts, Justice Owen J., 82, 306 

Robey, Ralph, 188 

Robinson, Representative John, 153 

Rolfe, Robert, 324 

Roll call of states, 158, 159, 161, 162, 
163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168 

Rommel, Marshal, 266 

Roosevelt, Mrs. Eleanor, 172 

Roosevelt, Elliott, 186 

Roosevelt, President Franklin, 31, 38, 
41, 42, 43, 53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 85, 95, 
.133, 143, 154, 181, 182, 184, 197, 203, 
207, 209, 213, 215, 224, 225-226, 228, 
231, 234, 238, 241, 244, 252, 262, 266, 
288, 296, 300, 320 . 

Root, Oren, Jr., 126, 127, 140, 150, 151, 

165, 185, 186, 208 
Rural Electrification Administration, 


Rutledge, Justice Wiley, 306 
Ryan, Oswald, 26, 59 

St. Lawrence River, 42, 43 

Saltonstall, Governor Leverett, 123, 325, 


Saturday Evening Post, 84, 339 
Schneiderman, William, 304-307 
Schneider-man v. United States, 304, 306 
Schroeder, Werner W., 201, 263 
Seabury, Judge Samuel, 183 
Securities and Exchange Commission, 

55, 59, 81, 92, 104, 105, 106, 119 
Securities and Exchange Commission v. 

Electric Bond and Share Company, 

81,82 7 

Segerstrom, Charles H., 164 
Selective Service and Training Act, 199, 

216, 237, 245, 246, 257 
Semantics, 63, 64, 65, 95, 114, 119, 180 
Shaffer, John C., 340 
Sherwood, Robert E., 254 
Shipping losses, 251 
Short, Dewey, 197 
Simon, Viscount, 326 
Simpson, Representative Kenneth, 130, 

137, 145, 147, 149, 150, 222, 230, 236, 


Sinclair, Upton, 201 
Sloan, Alfred P., 124 
Smith, Alfred E., 32, 42, 124, 183-184 
Smith, Young B., 183 
Snyder, Carl, 299 
Social Security Board, 104 
Sokolsky, George E., 188 
Sons of Indiana, 124, 125 
South Carolina Power Company, 67 
Southern California Law Review, 83 
Spangler, Harrison E., 313, 314, 346 
Sparks, C. Nelson, 325 
Sprague, J. Russell, 169 
Sprague,O.M.W., 183 
Stalin, Marshal Joseph, 274, 275, 309, 


Stamp, Lord Josiah, 236 
Standley, Ambassador William H., 270, 

271, 274 
Stassen, Governor Harold, 133, 148, 156, 

158, 160, 161, 163, 164, 169, 177, 180, 

198, 199, 330, 331, 332, 333 
Steinberg, Sumner, 124 
Stillwell, General Joseph, 286 



Stimson, Secretary Henry L., 154, 230, 


Stone, Chief Justice Harlan F., 306 
Stuart, Ann, 160 
Sullivan, Mark, 240 
Supreme Court, 55, 68, 73, 74, 76, 77, 

78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 220, 306, 307 

Taft, Senator Robert A., 123, 133, 141, 
142-146, 147, 151, 152, 154, 159, 161, 
164, 165, 166, 169, 177, 179, 224, 225, 
230, 258, 260, 262, 314, 325, 347, 348 

Talbott, Harold, 126, 127, 132, 145-149, 
178, 183, 187, 197, 295 

Tennessee Electric Power Company, 47, 
51, 67, 79, 82, 84, 87, 88, 89, 103, 117 

Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. Ten- 
nessee Valley Authority, 79, 82, 87, 88 

Tennessee Valley Authority, 37, 42, 43, 
44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 59, 
67, 69, 70, 72, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 82, 
83, 87, 89, 90, 91, 99, 100, 103, 104, 
116, 123, 125, 131, 182, 223, 228 

Thomas, Senator Elbert D., 298, 299 

Thomas, Senator Elmer, 91, 298 

Thomas, Senator John, 153 

Thorne, Landon, 36, 235 

Time, 315, 317, 319 

Tobey, Senator Charles W., 258, 260 

Tong, Dr. Hollington K., 278, 284 

Tooze, Walter, 141-142 

Torrence, James F., 199 

Townsend, Governor Clifford, 190 

Treasury Department, 55 

Trippe, Juan, 239, 301 

Twentieth Century-Fox, 303, 316, 330 

United Nations, 233, 244, 260, 290, 303, 
309, 345 

Valentine, Alan, 183, 311 
Vandenberg, Mrs. Arthur, 165 
Vandenberg, Senator Arthur, 133, 146, 

148, 161, 163, 166, 169, 179, 253, 258, 

260, 261, 314, 347, 348 
Vanderbilt, Governor William H., 136, 

145, 146, 147, 148, 149 
Van Doren, Irita, 292-293 
Vishinsky, Andrei, 271-272 

Wadsworth, Representative James W., 

Wallace, Henry, 98, 182, 203, 215, 240, 

278, 325 

Warburg, James P., 95 
Watson, Deneen, 314, 315 
Watson, Senator James, 143, 190 
Watt, A. C., 63, 340 

Wavell, General Sir Archibald, 241 

Weadock and Weadock, 34 

Weeks, Sinclair, 132, 135-136, 145, 147, 
149, 179, 199, 219-220, 295, 339, 340, 

Weir, Ernest T., 124, 145, 178, 296 

Welles, President Herman, 25 

Wheeler, Senator Burton K., 60, 61, 65, 
66, 69, 70, 71, 232, 254, 255, 258, 302, 

White, Senator Wallace H., 260 

White, William Allen, 153, 233, 238, 

Whiting, Justin, 177, 178, 196 

Williams, Ralph E., 149 

Willkie, Charlotte, 17 

Willkie, Edith Wilk, 16, 24, 26, 27, 143, 
146, 166, 172, 187-188, 206, 214, 224- 
225, 228, 312, 332, 353, 355 

Willkie, Edward, 17, 23, 206, 224 

Willkie, Fred, 17, 21, 23, 206 

Willkie, Henrietta Trisch, 17, 26, 127, 

Willkie, Herman, 17, 18, 19, 20, 107 

Willkie, Julia, 17,21 

Willkie, Owen, Otis, Fair, and Gal- 
lagher, 302, 340 

Willkie, Philip, 175, 187, 206, 224, 231, 
293, 299, 332 

Willkie, Robert, 17, 21 

Willkie, Wendell, army discharge, 15; 
marriage, 16; early life, 17-20; Indi- 
ana University, 21-23; Coffeyville, 23; 
Puerto Rico, 24; Class Day, 25; years 
in Akron, 30-34; appearance of, 35; 
President of CfcS, 37; congressional 
hearings, 44-57; proposes objective 
rate, 59; the Public Utility Company 
Bill, 66; effect of TVA on C&S, 70; 
advises another suit, 78; article on 
the Court, 85; sells Tennessee Elec- 
tric Power Co., 88; replies to lilien- 
thal speech, 90; appeal to the people, 
95; debate with Robert Jackson, 107; 
speaks at Herald Tribune Forum, 
117, 325; mentioned for the presi- 
dency, 122-124; speaks at Wooster 
College, 125; Information Please, 128; 
Gridiron dinner, 129, 132; St. Paul 
speech, 133; names man who will 
nominate him, 135; tours New Eng- 
land, 136; Young Republican Club 
of Brooklyn, 137; arrival in Philadel- 
phia, 139; strategy committee formed, 
145; opposition to, 151; wins presi- 
dential nomination, 168; addresses 
Convention, 172; returns to New 
York, 174; chooses new National 



Chairman, 176; visits Washington, 
178; Colorado Springs, 180-189; 
Democrats give support, 183; errors 
of, 185; goes to Elwood, 193; accept- 
ance speech, 194; dislike of politics, 
197; Rushville conference, 199; seeks 
a political writer, 200; Chicago 
speeches, 201-202; California, 208; 
meeting with John L. Lewis, 213-214; 
speaks to automobile workers, 214- 
217; end of campaign, 220; election 
day, 225; trip to Florida, 228; the 
Loyal Opposition speech, 231; state- 
ment on Lend-Lease, 232; journey to 
England, 234-238; stops at Bolama, 
239; hearings on Lend-Lease, 241; 
Lincoln Day address, 247; party re- 
volt, 248; asks for convoys, 251; bases 
needed in Iceland, 254; White House 
Conference, 255; opposes election of 
isolationists, 263; plans for world 
flight, 267; in Egypt, 268; talks with 
Stalin, 274; received in China, 278; 
meeting with General Chennault, 
285; reports to President, 288; One 
World, 290, reaction of crowds, 293; 
simplicity of, 295; idiosyncrasies of, 
297; resigns from C&S, 302; chairman 
of Twentieth Century-Fox, 303; de- 
fends William Schneiderman, 304; 
attacks by Prauda, 308; rejects help 
for governorship, 311-312; candidacy 
announced for 1944, 313; St. Louis 

meeting, 318; speaks to 78 Club, 319; 
speeches in Wisconsin, 321; New 
York Times Forum, 327; Wisconsin 
campaign, 331-333; quits race, 334; 
political weakness of, 337; writings, 
339; tries to influence Republican 
platform, 346; reaction to 1944 plat- 
forms, 350; no presidential commit- 
ment, 352; negotiates for a news- 
paper, 340; visit to Rushville farms, 
353; illness, 354; last journey, 355 

Willkie Clubs, see Oren Root, Jr. 

Willkie Special, see Campaign Special 

Wilson, Charles, 276 

Wilson, Woodrow, 18, 24. 30, 73, 184, 
210, 284, 303 

Wilson Dam, 77, 83 

Wisconsin primary, 321, 322, 323-325, 
329, 332, 333, 334, 341 

Wong, Dr. Wen-hoa, 281 

Wood, Sir Kingsley, 236 

Wood, General Robert E., 232, 238 

WoodfiU, W. S., 340 

Wooster College, 125 

Works Progress Administration, 50, 55, 
104, 109 

Yardstick, 42, 46, 47, 48, 49, 75, 76, 78, 

Zaslavsky, David, 308 
Zeidler. Carl, 322